Isolation of Drosophila egg chambers for imaging

Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2010 Apr;2010(4):pdb.prot5402. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot5402.


The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an important model for basic research into the molecular mechanisms underlying cell function and development, as well as a major biomedical research tool. A significant advantage of Drosophila is the ability to apply live cell imaging to a variety of living tissues that can be dissected and imaged in vivo, ex vivo, or in vitro. Drosophila egg chambers, for example, have proven to be a useful model system for studying border cell migration, Golgi unit transport, the rapid movement of mRNA and protein particles, and the role of microtubules in meiosis and oocyte differentiation. A crucial first step before imaging is preparation of the experimental material to ensure physiological relevance and to achieve the best conditions for image quality. Early- to mid-stage egg chambers cannot be mounted in an aqueous-based medium, because this causes a change in microtubule organization and follicle cell morphology. Such egg chambers survive better in Halocarbon oil, which allows free diffusion of oxygen, has low viscosity, and thus prevents dehydration and hypoxia. With a refractive index similar to glycerol, Halocarbon oil also has good optical properties for imaging. It also provides a good environment for injection and is particularly useful for long-term imaging of embryos. However, unlike with aqueous solutions, changes in the medium are not possible. This protocol describes the isolation of Drosophila egg chambers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dissection / methods*
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Microscopy / methods
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Specimen Handling / methods*