Live Imaging of the Drosophila Testis Stem Cell Niche

Methods Mol Biol. 2017;1463:63-74. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-4017-2_4.


Live imaging of adult tissue stem cell niches provides key insights into the dynamic behavior of stem cells, their differentiating progeny, and their neighboring support cells, but few niches are amenable to this approach. Here we discuss a technique for long-term live imaging of the Drosophila testis stem cell niche. Culturing whole testes ex vivo for up to 12.5 h allows for tracking of cell-type specific behaviors under normal and various chemically or genetically modified conditions. Fixing and staining tissues after live imaging allows for the molecular confirmation of cell identity and behavior. Utilization of live imaging in intact niches will facilitate further understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate stem cell function in vivo.

Keywords: Confocal microscopy; Drosophila testis; Fluorescence; Niche; Stem cell; Time-lapse live imaging.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Tracking
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal / methods
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stem Cell Niche
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / ultrastructure*
  • Time-Lapse Imaging / methods*
  • Tissue Fixation