Dissection of the Embryonic Brain Using Photoactivated Gene Expression

  • Jonathan Minden
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 628)


The Drosophila brain is generated by a complex series of morphogenetic movements. To better understand brain development and to provide a guide for experimental manipulation of brain progenitors, we created a fate map using photoactivated gene expression to mark cells originating within specific mitotic domains and time-lapse microscopy to dynamically monitor their progeny. We show that mitotic domains 1, 5, 9, 20 and B give rise to discrete cell populations within specific regions of the brain. Mitotic domains 1,5,9 and 20 give rise to brain neurons; mitotic domain B produced glial cells. Mitotic domains 5 and 9 produce the antennal and visual sensory systems, respectively, where each sensory system is composed of several disparate cell clusters. Time-lapse analysis of marked cells showed complex mitotic and migratory patterns for cells derived from these mitotic domains.


Mushroom Body Optic Lobe Embryonic Brain Dorsal Midline Posterior Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Foe VE, Odell GM, Edgar BA. Mitosis and morphogenesis in the Drosophila embryo. In: Bate M, Martinez AA, eds. The Development of Drosophila melanogaster. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1993:149–300.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    St. Johnston D. Pole plasm and the posterior group genes. In: Bate M, Martinez AA, eds. The Development of Drosophila melanogaster. New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1993:325–364.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hartenstein V, Technau GM, Campos-Ortega JA. Fate-mapping in wild-type Drosophila melanogaster. III. A fate map of the blastoderm. Rouxs Arch Dev Biol 1985; 194:213–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jurgens GR, Lehman M, Schardin M et al. Segmental organization of the head in the embryo of Drosophila melanogaster. A blastoderm fate map of the cuticle structures of the larval head. Roux’s Arch Dev Biol 1986; 195:359–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Underwood EM, Turner FR, Mahowald AP. Analysis of cell movements and fate mapping during early embryogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. Dev Biol 1980; 74(2):286–301.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bossing T, Technau GM. The fate of the CNS midline progenitors in Drosophila as revealed by a new method for single cell labelling. Development 1994; 120(7):1895–1906.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Technau GM, Campos-Ortega JA. Fate-mapping in wild-type Drosophila. II. Injections of horseradish peroxidase in cells of the early gastrula stage. Roux’s Arch Dev Biol 1985; 194:196–212.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gehring WJ, Wieschaus E, Holliger M. The use of ‘normal’ and ‘transformed’ gynandromorphs in mapping the primordial germ cells and the gonadal mesoderm in Drosophila. J Embryol Exp Morphol 1976; 35(3):607–616.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Janning W. Aldehyde oxidase as a cell marker for internal organs in Drosophila melanogaster. Naturwissenschaften 1972; 59(11):516–517.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Foe VE. Mitotic domains reveal early commitment of cells in Drosophila embryos. Development 1989; 107(1):1–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Minden JS, Agard DA, Sedat JW, et al. Direct cell lineage analysis in Drosophila melanogaster by time-lapse, three-dimensional optical microscopy of living embryos. J Cell Biol 1989; 109(2):505–516.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cambridge SB, Davis RL, Minden JS. Drosophila mitotic domain boundaries as cell fate boundaries. Science 1997; 277(5327):825–828.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Namba R, Minden JS. Fate mapping of Drosophila embryonic mitotic domain 20 reveals that the larval visual system is derived from a subdomain of a few cells. Dev Biol 1999; 212(2):465–476.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Brand AH, Perrimon N. Targeted gene expression as a means of altering cell fates and generating dominant phenotypes. Development 1993; 118(2):401–415.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robertson K, Mergliano J, Minden JS. Dissecting Drosophila embryonic brain development using photoactivated gene expression. Dev Biol 2003; 260(1):124–137.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hartenstein V, Nassif C, Lekven A. Embryonic development of the Drosophila brain. II. Pattern of glial cells. J Comp Neurol 1998; 402(1):32–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Koushika SP, Lisbin MJ, White K. ELAV, a Drosophila neuron-specific protein, mediates the generation of an alternatively spliced neural protein isoform. Curr Biol 1996; 6(12):1634–1641.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Halter DA, Urban J, Rickert C et al. The homeobox gene repo is required for the differentiation and maintenance of glia function in the embryonic nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster. Development 1995; 121(2):317–332.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tettamanti M, Armstrong, DJ, Endo K et al. Early development of the Drosophila mushroom bodies, brain centers for associative learning and memory. Dev Genes Evol 1997; 207:242–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kurusu M, Awasaki T, Masuda-Nakagawa LM et al. Embryonic and larval development of the Drosophila mushroom bodies: concentric layer subdivisions and the role of fasciclin II. Development 2002; 129(2):409–419.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Holmes AL, Heilig JS. Fasciclin II and Beaten path modulate intercellular adhesion in Drosophila larval visual organ development. Development 1999; 126(2):261–272.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Therianos S, Leuzinger S, Hirth F et al. Embryonic development of the Drosophila brain: formation of commissural and descending pathways. Development 1995; 121(11):3849–3860.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Fujita SC, Zipursky SL, Benzer S et al. Monoclonal antibodies against the Drosophila nervous system. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1982; 79(24):7929–7933.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Goodman CS, Bastiani MJ, Doe CQ et al. Cell recognition during neuronal development. Science 1984; 225(4668):1271–1279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Minden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences and ScienceCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburthUSA

Personalised recommendations