Using GFP video to track 3D movement and conditional gene expression in free-moving flies

PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e40506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040506. Epub 2012 Jul 19.


Background: In vivo imaging and quantification of fluorescent reporter molecules is increasingly useful in biomedical research. For example, tracking animal movement in 3D with simultaneous quantification of fluorescent transgenic reporters allows for correlations between behavior, aging and gene expression. However implementation has been hindered in the past by the complexity of operating the systems.

Results: We report significant technical improvements and user-friendly software (called FluoreScore) that enables tracking of 3D movement and the dynamics of gene expression in adult Drosophila, using two cameras and recorded GFP videos. Expression of a transgenic construct encoding eGFP was induced in free-moving adult flies using the Gene-Switch system and RU486 drug feeding. The time course of induction of eGFP expression was readily quantified from internal tissues including central nervous tissue.

Conclusions: FluoreScore should facilitate a variety of future studies involving quantification of movement behaviors and fluorescent molecules in free-moving animals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Gene Expression / physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Retina / metabolism
  • Software*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins