Lighting Up Gene Activation in Living Drosophila Embryos

  • Carola Fernandez
  • Mounia LaghaEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2038)


With its rapid development, ease of collection, and the presence of a unique layer of nuclei located close to the surface, the Drosophila syncytial embryo is ideally suited to study the establishment of gene expression patterns during development. Recent improvements in RNA labeling technologies and confocal microscopy allow for visualizing gene activation and quantifying transcriptional dynamics in living Drosophila embryos. Here we review the available tools for mRNA fluorescent labeling and detection in live embryos and precisely describe the overall procedure, from design to mounting and confocal imaging.

Key words

Live imaging Transcription Embryo Drosophila mRNA MS2/MCP system 



We are very grateful to J. Dufourt for critical reading and insightful suggestions on the manuscript. We thank M. Bellec, M. Dejean, and A. Trullo for helpful discussions. We acknowledge the imaging facility MRI, member of the national infrastructure France-BioImaging supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR-10-INBS-04, “Investments for the future”). The ERC SyncDev and HFSP-CDA grants supported this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de MontpellierUniversity of Montpellier, CNRSMontpellier, Cedex 5France

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