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Sci Rep. 2015 Mar 16;5:9107. doi: 10.1038/srep09107.

Highly efficient cell-type-specific gene inactivation reveals a key function for the Drosophila FUS homolog cabeza in neurons.

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1] Molecular Neurogenetics Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, 48149 Münster, Germany [2] Faculty of Medicine, University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany.


To expand the rich genetic toolkit of Drosophila melanogaster, we evaluated whether introducing FRT or LoxP sites in endogenous genes could allow for cell-type-specific gene inactivation in both dividing and postmitotic cells by GAL4-driven expression of FLP or Cre recombinase. For proof of principle, conditional alleles were generated for cabeza (caz), the Drosophila homolog of human FUS, a gene implicated in the neurodegenerative disorders amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Upon selective expression in neurons or muscle, both FLP and Cre mediated caz inactivation in all neurons or muscle cells, respectively. Neuron-selective caz inactivation resulted in failure of pharate adult flies to eclose from the pupal case, and adult escapers displayed motor performance defects and reduced life span. Due to Cre-toxicity, FLP/FRT is the preferred system for cell-type-specific gene inactivation, and this strategy outperforms RNAi-mediated knock-down. Furthermore, the GAL80 target system allowed for temporal control over gene inactivation, as induction of FLP expression from the adult stage onwards still inactivated caz in >99% of neurons. Remarkably, selective caz inactivation in adult neurons did not affect motor performance and life span, indicating that neuronal caz is required during development, but not for maintenance of adult neuronal function.

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