Immunostaining of the Embryonic and Larval Drosophila Brain

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Immunostaining is used to visualize the spatiotemporal expression pattern of developmental control genes that regulate the genesis and specification of the embryonic and larval brain of Drosophila. It is also used to visualize the effects of targeted misexpression or inactivation of disease-related genes. Immunostaining uses specific antibodies to mark expressed proteins and allows their localization to be traced. This method reveals insights into gene regulation, cell type specification, neuron and glial differentiation, axonal and synaptic scaffolding and posttranslational protein modifications underlying the patterning and specification of the maturing brain. Depending on the targeted protein, it is possible to visualize a multitude of regions of the Drosophila brain, such as small groups of neurons or glia, defined subcomponents of the brain's axon scaffold, or pre- and postsynaptic structures of neurons. Thus, antibody probes that recognize defined tissues, cells, or subcellular structures like axons or synaptic terminals can be used as markers to identify and analyze phenotypes in embryos and larvae. Several antibodies, combined with different labels can be used concurrently to examine protein colocalization. This protocol spans over 3-4 days.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Antibody
  • Brain
  • Dissection
  • Drosophila
  • Embryo
  • Fluorescence immunocytochemistry
  • Immunostaining
  • Larva


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