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Genetic Tools for the Analysis of Drosophila Stomatogastric Nervous System Development
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The Drosophila stomatogastric nervous system (SNS) is a compact collection of neurons that arises from the migration of neural precursors. Here we describe genetic tools allowing functional analysis of the SNS during the migratory phase of development. We constructed GAL4 lines driven by fragments of the Ret promoter, which yielded expression in a subset of migrating neural SNS precursors and also included a distinct set of midgut associated cells. Screening of additional GAL4 lines driven by fragments of the Gfrl/Munin, forkhead, twist and goosecoid (Gsc) promoters identified a Gsc fragment with expression from initial selection of SNS precursors until the end of embryogenesis. Inhibition of EGFR signaling using three identified lines disrupted the correct patterning of the frontal and recurrent nerves. To manipulate the environment traveled by SNS precursors, a FasII-GAL4 line with strong expression throughout the entire intestinal tract was identified. The transgenic lines described offer the ability to specifically manipulate the migration of SNS precursors and will allow the modeling and in-depth analysis of neuronal migration in ENS disorders such as Hirschsprung's disease.