Fluorescent labeling of Drosophila heart structures

J Vis Exp. 2009 Oct 13;(32):1423. doi: 10.3791/1423.

Abstract

The Drosophila melanogaster dorsal vessel, or heart, is a tubular structure comprised of a single layer of contractile cardiomyocytes, pericardial cells that align along each side of the heart wall, supportive alary muscles and, in adults, a layer of ventral longitudinal muscle cells. The contractile fibers house conserved constituents of the muscle cytoarchitecture including densely packed bundles of myofibrils and cytoskeletal/submembranous protein complexes, which interact with homologous components of the extracellular matrix. Here we describe a protocol for the fixation and the fluorescent labeling of particular myocardial elements from the hearts of dissected larvae and semi-intact adult Drosophila. Specifically, we demonstrate the labeling of sarcomeric F-actin and of alpha-actinin in larval hearts. Additionally, we perform labeling of F-actin and alpha-actinin in myosin-GFP expressing adult flies and of alpha-actinin and pericardin, a type IV extracellular matrix collagen, in wild type adult hearts. Particular attention is given to a mounting strategy for semi-intact adult hearts that minimizes handling and optimizes the opportunity for maintaining the integrity of the cardiac tubes and the associated tissues. These preparations are suitable for imaging via fluorescent and confocal microscopy. Overall, this procedure allows for careful and detailed analysis of the structural characteristics of the heart from a powerful genetically tractable model system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila / chemistry
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Fluorescent Dyes / chemistry
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Heart / anatomy & histology*
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Myocardium / metabolism

Substances

  • Actins
  • Fluorescent Dyes