Enhancer-trap lines are genetic tools in which a reporter gene, not normally found in Drosophila, is expressed under the same control as a normal fly gene. The most frequently used reporter gene is lacZ, the product of which can only be visualised in fixed tissue. The aim of my project is to develop a system where the expression of the reporter gene can be followed in living tissue. This I will achieve by using the Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) which is autofluorescent and can therefore be detected in living cells.
I will take advantage of the existence of trap lines where the reporter gene is GAL4, a yeast transcriptional regulator that activates any gene flanked by a UAS sequence, to drive the expression of GFP in the appropriate cell types. This system will be used to solve crucial questions related to the lineage and differentiation of nerve cells.