The embryo as a laboratory: Quantifying transcription in Drosophila

Thomas Gregor, Hernan G. Garcia, Shawn C. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transcriptional regulation of gene expression is fundamental to most cellular processes, including determination of cellular fates. Quantitative studies of transcription in cultured cells have led to significant advances in identifying mechanisms underlying transcriptional control. Recent progress allowed implementation of these same quantitative methods in multicellular organisms to ask how transcriptional regulation unfolds both in vivo and at the single molecule level in the context of embryonic development. Here we review some of these advances in early Drosophila development, which bring the embryo on par with its single celled counterparts. In particular, we discuss progress in methods to measure mRNA and protein distributions in fixed and living embryos, and we highlight some initial applications that lead to fundamental new insights about molecular transcription processes. We end with an outlook on how to further exploit the unique advantages that come with investigating transcriptional control in the multicellular context of development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-375
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Genetics
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics

Keywords

  • Embryogenesis
  • Gene regulatory networks
  • Live imaging
  • Quantitative biology
  • Single molecule FISH

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