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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Sep 14;107(37):16378-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1004669107. Epub 2010 Sep 1.

A genetic mosaic approach for neural circuit mapping in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA. rudibohm@gmail


Transgenic manipulation of subsets of brain cells is increasingly used for studying behaviors and their underlying neural circuits. In Drosophila, the GAL4-upstream activating sequence (UAS) binary system is powerful for gene manipulation, but GAL4 expression is often too broad for fine mapping of neural circuits. Here, we describe the development of unique molecular genetic tools to restrict GAL4 expression patterns. Building on the GAL4-UAS system, our method adds two components: a collection of enhancer-trap recombinase, Flippase (ET-FLP), transgenic lines that provide inheritable, reproducible, and tissue-specific FLP and an FRT-dependent GAL80 "flip-in" construct that converts FLP expression into tissue-specific repression of GAL4 by GAL80. By including a UAS-encoded fluorescent protein, circuit morphology can be simultaneously marked while the circuit function is assessed using another UAS transgene. In a proof-of-principle analysis, we applied this ET-FLP-induced intersectional GAL80/GAL4 repression (FINGR) method to map the neural circuitry underlying fly wing inflation. The FINGR system is versatile and powerful in combination with the vast collection of GAL4 lines for neural circuit mapping as well as for clonal analysis based on the infusion of the yeast-derived FRT/FLP system of mitotic recombination into Drosophila. The strategies and tactics underlying our FINGR system are also applicable to other genetically amenable organisms in which transgenes including the GAL4, UAS, GAL80, and FLP factors can be applied.

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