Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol:107 issue:47 pages:20553-20558
In recent years, Drosophila melanogaster has emerged as a powerful model for neuronal circuit development, pathology, and function. A major impediment to these studies has been the lack of a genetically encoded, specific, universal, and phenotypically neutral marker of the somatodendritic compartment. We have developed such a marker and show that it is effective and specific in all neuronal populations tested in the peripheral and central nervous system. The marker, which we name DenMark (Dendritic Marker), is a hybrid protein of the mouse protein ICAM5/Telencephalin and the red fluorescent protein mCherry. We show that DenMark is a powerful tool for revealing novel aspects of the neuroanatomy of developing dendrites, identifying previously unknown dendritic arbors, and elucidating neuronal connectivity.