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Methods Mol Biol. 2014;1082:19-35. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-655-9_2.

Non-fluorescent RNA in situ hybridization combined with antibody staining to visualize multiple gene expression patterns in the embryonic brain of Drosophila.

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Institute of Genetics, University of Mainz, Mainz, Germany.


In Drosophila, the brain arises from about 100 neural stem cells (called neuroblasts) per hemisphere which originate from the neuroectoderm. Products of developmental control genes are expressed in spatially restricted domains in the neuroectoderm and provide positional cues that determine the formation and identity of neuroblasts. Here, we present a protocol for non-fluorescent double in situ hybridization combined with antibody staining which allows the simultaneous representation of gene expression patterns in Drosophila embryos in up to three different colors. Such visible multiple stainings are especially useful to analyze the expression and regulatory interactions of developmental control genes during early embryonic brain development. We also provide protocols for whole mount and flat preparations of Drosophila embryos, which allow a more detailed analysis of gene expression patterns in relation to the cellular context of the early brain (and facilitate the identification of individual brain neuroblasts) using conventional light microscopy.

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