The Q system: a repressible binary system for transgene expression, lineage tracing, and mosaic analysis

Cell. 2010 Apr 30;141(3):536-48. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.02.025.


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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytological Techniques*
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Female
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurospora crassa / genetics
  • Plasmids / chemistry
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Transgenes

Associated data

  • GENBANK/HM068612
  • GENBANK/HM068613
  • GENBANK/HM068614