We describe a new repressible binary expression system based on the regulatory genes from the Neurospora qa gene cluster. This "Q system" offers attractive features for transgene expression in Drosophila and mammalian cells: low basal expression in the absence of the transcriptional activator QF, high QF-induced expression, and QF repression by its repressor QS. Additionally, feeding flies quinic acid can relieve QS repression. The Q system offers many applications, including (1) intersectional "logic gates" with the GAL4 system for manipulating transgene expression patterns, (2) GAL4-independent MARCM analysis, and (3) coupled MARCM analysis to independently visualize and genetically manipulate siblings from any cell division. We demonstrate the utility of the Q system in determining cell division patterns of a neuronal lineage and gene function in cell growth and proliferation, and in dissecting neurons responsible for olfactory attraction. The Q system can be expanded to other uses in Drosophila and to any organism conducive to transgenesis.
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