Bellymount enables longitudinal, intravital imaging of abdominal organs and the gut microbiota in adult Drosophila

PLoS Biol. 2020 Jan 27;18(1):e3000567. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000567. eCollection 2020 Jan.


Cell- and tissue-level processes often occur across days or weeks, but few imaging methods can capture such long timescales. Here, we describe Bellymount, a simple, noninvasive method for longitudinal imaging of the Drosophila abdomen at subcellular resolution. Bellymounted animals remain live and intact, so the same individual can be imaged serially to yield vivid time series of multiday processes. This feature opens the door to longitudinal studies of Drosophila internal organs in their native context. Exploiting Bellymount's capabilities, we track intestinal stem cell lineages and gut microbial colonization in single animals, revealing spatiotemporal dynamics undetectable by previously available methods.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional / methods*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome*
  • Intestines / anatomy & histology
  • Intestines / diagnostic imaging
  • Intravital Microscopy / methods*
  • Optical Imaging / methods
  • Viscera / anatomy & histology*
  • Viscera / diagnostic imaging