Improved Lineage Marking in Drosophila

Marking cells has been a powerful tool for developmental biologists studying Drosophila melanogaster for many decades.  Insect genetic technologies, in particular site specific recombination systems, have allowed this lineage marking and tracking method to become highly robust and controlable.  Enhancer trap derived drivers however may have temporal or spatial restrictions that can confound the longterm expression of Gal 4.  A cell may express Gal4 early but all cells in the subsequent clone may not continue to express Gal4.  Awasaki et al “established two independent strategies for targeting specific NB lineages with existing GAL4 transgenes. One method involves converting the normally dynamic GAL4 expression into a permanent heritable modification in specific neuroblasts and their descendants using recombinase-mediated removal of a transcriptional termination sequence (stop cassette). The other approach depends on selective induction of MARCM clones in specific NB lineages during early neurogenesis.”  The engineered lineage-restricted drivers provide new  precision in targeted clonal analysis


Making Drosophila lineage–restricted drivers via patterned recombination in neuroblasts, Takeshi Awasaki, et al, Nature Neuroscience 17, 631–637 (2014) doi:10.1038/nn.3654


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