Glia are heterogeneous and multitasking cell type in the nervous system that supports neuronal function. One of the main glial tasks is removal of unneeded and potentially harmful material through phagocytosis. Glial phagocytosis is highly conserved throughout evolution, which makes genetic model organisms such as Drosophila of great value for investigating its molecular mechanisms. This mini review will focus on recent findings regarding the complex role of glial phagocytosis in Drosophila CNS during development as well as at the adult stage. We will summarize the current knowledge regarding partially redundant and overlapping signaling pathways underlying clearance of different targets in normal and diseased brain. In addition, we will highlight a recently emerged concept of glia-driven neurodegeneration that exposes the potentially harmful role of phagocytic glia. Studies on Drosophila glia provide new insights, which open new directions in glial cell biology with potential impact on healthy and diseased brain function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank B. Lemaitre for the stimulating comments on the manuscript, Naama Flint-Brodsly and Nadav Brodsly for graphic design of the figures. We apologize to colleagues whose work could not be cited here because of limited space. Work in the Kurant lab is supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant 1872/15 ).
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy