The pattern and level of expression of axon guidance proteins must be choreographed with exquisite precision for the nervous system to develop its proper connectivity. Previous work has shown that the transcription factor Lola is required for central nervous system (CNS) axons of Drosophila to extend longitudinally. We show here that Lola is simultaneously required to repel these same longitudinal axons away from the midline, and that it acts, in part, by augmenting the expression both of the midline repellant, Slit, and of its axonal receptor, Robo. Lola is thus the examplar of a class of axon guidance molecules that control axon patterning by coordinating the regulation of multiple, independent guidance genes, ensuring that they are co-expressed at the correct time, place and relative level.
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