Manipulating gene function cell type-specifically is a common experimental goal in Drosophila research and has been central to studies of neural development, circuit computation, and behavior. However, current cell type-specific gene disruption techniques in flies often reduce gene activity incompletely or rely on cell division. Here we describe FlpStop, a generalizable tool for conditional gene disruption and rescue in post-mitotic cells. In proof-of-principle experiments, we manipulated apterous, a regulator of wing development. Next, we produced conditional null alleles of Glutamic acid decarboxylase 1 (Gad1) and Resistant to dieldrin (Rdl), genes vital for GABAergic neurotransmission, as well as cacophony (cac) and paralytic (para), voltage-gated ion channels central to neuronal excitability. To demonstrate the utility of this approach, we manipulated cac in a specific visual interneuron type and discovered differential regulation of calcium signals across subcellular compartments. Thus, FlpStop will facilitate investigations into the interactions between genes, circuits, and computation.
Keywords: D. melanogaster; apterous; chromosomes; conditional gene disruption; conditional gene rescue; genes; neuroscience; voltage-gated calcium channels.