Time’s Fun When You Have Flies

It’s been another couple of weeks in lab—let me catch you up.

First of all, I’ve started experimenting with different types of Fetal Bovine Serum (FBS) in the culture media I use for live cell imaging of isolated fly gonads. I’m doing this to find a type of serum that optimizes cell differentiation observed in the gonads under the confocal microscope. Recently, I established a set of control conditions under which isolated gonads can survive for 12 hours. I will use these conditions for all my trials. I then ran a trial using Sigma brand FBS and Optima brand FBS. Unfortunately, I saw no differentiation using either type of FBS. Next, I will try using fresh versions of each type of FBS since both versions I previously used were nearing their expiration dates. If this also doesn’t work, I may play around with different concentrations of FBS in the culture media and different types of insect media (another major ingredient in live cell imaging culture media).

Another related project I’ve been working on is in vivo imaging of gonads using phytagel, a plant based gel. I hope to be able to observe gonad coalescence inside a living embryo using this method. The phytagel should prevent the embryos from moving around too much. Just to be sure, I generally try to image fly embryos early enough that they can’t move around on their own (earlier than ~22 hours old). I’ve been working on perfecting this new technique and have found a way to image through the gel to find gonads within the embryos. I do this by laying the phytagel on top of embryos that have been treated with PBTx and bleach. I am running an experiment to see if long term viability of embryos under phytagel is possible as I type this blog post. Hopefully cool and promising results will be included in future posts!

Stay tuned for more fly gonad research updates!