Gal80 intersectional regulation of cell-type specific expression in vertebrates

Dev Dyn. 2011 Oct;240(10):2324-34. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22734. Epub 2011 Sep 8.


Characterization and functional manipulation of specific groups of neurons in the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) remains a major hurdle for understanding complex circuitry and functions. In zebrafish, the Gal4/UAS system has permitted expression of transgenes and enhancer trap screens, but is often limited by broad expression domains. We have developed a method for cell-type specific expression using Gal80 inhibition of Gal4-dependent expression. We show that native Gal4 is able to drive strong expression, that Gal80 can inhibit this expression, and that overlapping Gal4 and Gal80 expression can achieve "intersectional" expression in spatially and genetically defined subsets of neurons. We also optimize Gal80 for expression in vertebrates, track Gal80 expression with a co-expressed fluorescent marker, and use a temperature-sensitive allele of Gal80 to temporally regulate its function. These data demonstrate that Gal80 is a powerful addition to the genetic techniques available to map and manipulate neural circuits in zebrafish.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*
  • Zebrafish / genetics
  • Zebrafish / physiology*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Gal4 protein, zebrafish
  • Gal80 protein, zebrafish
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Zebrafish Proteins