Visualizing Olfactory Receptor Expression and Localization in Drosophila

  • Michael Saina
  • Richard Benton
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1003)


Odor detection and discrimination by olfactory systems in vertebrates and invertebrates depend both on the selective expression of individual olfactory receptor genes in subpopulations of olfactory sensory neurons, and on the targeting of the encoded proteins to the exposed, ciliated endings of sensory dendrites. Techniques to visualize the expression and localization of olfactory receptor gene products in vivo have been essential to reveal the molecular logic of peripheral odor coding and to permit investigation of the developmental and cellular neurobiology of this sensory system. Here, we describe methods for detection of olfactory receptor transcripts and proteins in the antennal olfactory organ of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, an important genetic model organism. We include protocols both for antennal cryosections and whole-mount antennae. These methods can be adapted for detection of receptor expression in other olfactory and gustatory tissues in Drosophila, as well as in the chemosensory systems of other insects.

Key words

Olfaction Olfactory receptor Gene expression Drosophila melanogaster Insect Antenna Fluorescent in situ hybridization Immunohistochemistry 



We thank Liliane Abuin, Vincent Croset, Jaime Reina, and Raphael Rytz for comments on this chapter. We acknowledge Elane Fishilevich and Kirsten Vannice (Vosshall Lab, Rockefeller University) and Jeanne de Lavallaz, who contributed to the development of these methods. Research in R.B.’s laboratory is supported by the University of Lausanne, a European Research Council Starting Independent Researcher Grant and the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Saina
    • 1
  • Richard Benton
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Biology and Medicine, Center for Integrative GenomicsUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

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