Methods to identify and analyze gene products involved in neuronal intracellular transport using Drosophila

Amanda L. Neisch, Adam W. Avery, James B. Machamer, Min gang Li, Thomas S. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Proper neuronal function critically depends on efficient intracellular transport and disruption of transport leads to neurodegeneration. Molecular pathways that support or regulate neuronal transport are not fully understood. A greater understanding of these pathways will help reveal the pathological mechanisms underlying disease. Drosophila melanogaster is the premier model system for performing large-scale genetic functional screens. Here we describe methods to carry out primary and secondary genetic screens in Drosophila aimed at identifying novel gene products and pathways that impact neuronal intracellular transport. These screens are performed using whole animal or live cell imaging of intact neural tissue to ensure integrity of neurons and their cellular environment. The primary screen is used to identify gross defects in neuronal function indicative of a disruption in microtubule-based transport. The secondary screens, conducted in both motoneurons and dendritic arborization neurons, will confirm the function of candidate gene products in intracellular transport. Together, the methodologies described here will support labs interested in identifying and characterizing gene products that alter intracellular transport in Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMethods in Cell Biology
StateAccepted/In press - 2015


  • Dendritic arborization neurons
  • Drosophila
  • Dynein
  • Genetic screens
  • Intracellular transport
  • Live cell imaging
  • Motoneurons
  • Neurodegeneration
  • RNAi
  • Tail flip

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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