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J Vis Exp. 2018 May 5;(135). doi: 10.3791/57557.

A Drosophila In Vivo Injury Model for Studying Neuroregeneration in the Peripheral and Central Nervous System.

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Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania;


The regrowth capacity of damaged neurons governs neuroregeneration and functional recovery after nervous system trauma. Over the past few decades, various intrinsic and extrinsic inhibitory factors involved in the restriction of axon regeneration have been identified. However, simply removing these inhibitory cues is insufficient for successful regeneration, indicating the existence of additional regulatory machinery. Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, shares evolutionarily conserved genes and signaling pathways with vertebrates, including humans. Combining the powerful genetic toolbox of flies with two-photon laser axotomy/dendriotomy, we describe here the Drosophila sensory neuron - dendritic arborization (da) neuron injury model as a platform for systematically screening for novel regeneration regulators. Briefly, this paradigm includes a) the preparation of larvae, b) lesion induction to dendrite(s) or axon(s) using a two-photon laser, c) live confocal imaging post-injury and d) data analysis. Our model enables highly reproducible injury of single labeled neurons, axons, and dendrites of well-defined neuronal subtypes, in both the peripheral and central nervous system.

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