Performing Single-Cell Clonal Analysis in the Mouse Brain Using Mosaic Analysis with Double Markers (MADM)

Methods Mol Biol. 2022;2515:59-74. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-2409-8_4.


A central question in neuroscience is how 100 billion neurons come together to build the human brain. The wiring, morphology, survival, and death of each neuron are controlled by genes that encode intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Determining the function of these genes at a high spatiotemporal resolution is a critical step toward understanding brain development and function. Moreover, an increasing number of somatic mutations are being discovered in many brain disorders. However, neurons are embedded in complex networks, making it difficult to distinguish cell-autonomous from non-cell-autonomous function of any given gene in the brain. Here, I describe MADM (mosaic analysis with double markers), a genetic method that allows for labeling and manipulating gene function at the single-cell level within the mouse brain. I present mouse breeding schemes to employ MADM analysis and important considerations for experimental design. This powerful system can be adapted to make fundamental neuroscience discoveries by targeting genetically defined cell types in the mouse brain with high spatiotemporal resolution.

Keywords: Cell autonomous; Cell fate mapping; Clonal analysis; Disease modeling; Lineage tracing; Loss of heterozygosity; MADM; Mosaic analysis; Neuronal morphology; Non-cell-autonomous; Single-cell technique.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain
  • Genetic Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mosaicism*
  • Phenotype
  • Single-Cell Analysis*