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Dissecting, Fixing, and Visualizing the Drosophila Pupal Notum


White James S. , LaFever Kimberly S. , Page-McCaw Andrea .


The pupae of Drosophila melanogaster are immobile for several days during metamorphosis, during which they develop a new body with a thin transparent adult integument. Their immobility and transparency make them ideal for in vivo live imaging experiments. Many studies have focused on the dorsal epithelial monolayer of the pupal notum because of its accessibility and relatively large size. In addition to the studies of epithelial mechanics and development, the notum has been an ideal tissue to study wound healing. After an injury, the entire epithelial repair process can be captured by live imaging over 6-12 h. Despite the popularity of the notum for live imaging, very few published studies have utilized fixed notum samples. Fixation and staining are common approaches for nearly all other Drosophila tissues, taking advantage of the large repertoire of simple cellular stains and antibodies. However, the pupal notum is fragile and prone to curling and distortion after removal from the body, making it challenging to complement live imaging. This protocol offers a straightforward method for fixing and staining the pupal notum, both intact and after laser-wounding. With this technique, the ventral side of the pupa is glued down to a coverslip to immobilize the pupa, and the notum is carefully removed, fixed, and stained. The notum epithelium is mounted on a slide or between two coverslips to facilitate imaging from the tissue’s dorsal or ventral side.