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, 28 (3), 363-80

Conditions for the Primary Culture of Eye Imaginal Discs From Drosophila Melanogaster


Conditions for the Primary Culture of Eye Imaginal Discs From Drosophila Melanogaster

C Li et al. J Neurobiol.


We have established a primary culture system for Drosophila eye imaginal discs. With this system, we were able to obtain neurite outgrowth from intact eye discs, eye disc fragments, and dissociated eye imaginal disc cells. Immunoreactivity to antibody 24B10 indicates that these extending neurites are photoreceptor axons. Three culture media were tested for their ability to support the survival of and neurite extension from eye disc fragments in vitro at 23 degrees C. These, with supplements, were: five parts of Schneider's Drosophila medium with four parts of basal Eagle's medium ("4 + 5"); Leibovitz's L-15 medium (L-15); and Shields and Sang's M3 modified medium (MM3). We obtained the best results with MM3 supplemented with 2% fetal bovine serum (FBS). Eye disc fragments survived in this medium for at least 20 days. Pigmentation in the nonphotoreceptor pigment cells in cultures from the prepupa required the presence of 20-hydroxyecdysone (20-HE) (1 micrograms/ml), whereas neurite outgrowth was seen in the absence of 20-HE. Donor animals had to fall within a range of ages to obtain appropriate eye disc differentiation in vitro. Eye disc from 5-h pupae (P + 5) or older commenced ommachrome synthesis in vitro in a temporal sequence close to that found in vivo, whereas the in vitro synthesis of this pigment was delayed in eye discs from younger flies. Average neurite length was not affected by age among pupae younger than P + 5; but neurite outgrowth from P + 24 was scarce, probably because by this time photoreceptor axons had already grown in vivo and were severed and unable to regenerate in vitro. Eye discs taken from third instar larvae or white prepupae continued their mitotic activity in vitro. Together with the advance of the morphogenetic furrow at the leading edge of retinal development, this observation is consistent with the evidence that pattern formation continues in vitro. Morphogenetic changes were manifested in cultures. Viability tests with calcein AM and ethidium bromide revealed few dead cells in living cultures.

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