web site on motor axons in flies

Wed Jan 22 20:10:58 EST 1997

This is a message to people interested (or potentially interested) in the
development of the Drosophila motor axon system and CNS:

I recently constructed a World Wide Web site (linked to our homepage, which
is   http://www.caltech.edu/~zinn/ ) on motor axon development in flies.   
This consists at present of a gallery of high-resolution Photoshop images
(>35 images of antibody-stained embryos photographed with DIC optics, and
several diagrams) of the neuromuscular system in embryos, with accompanying
text.   Most of the images in the current version are of wild-type embryos
stained with the 1D4 antibody against Fasciclin II, which specifically labels
motor axons (Van Vactor et al., Cell 73, 1137-1153 (1993)). The same segments
are shown in several focal planes, so that the viewer can see the details of
the pathways as if they were examining an actual embryo under the microscope.
There are also embryos double-stained for PNS, muscle, and tracheal markers,
so that motor axon development can be keyed to the development of other
structures. In future versions we plan to include galleries of images from
mutant embryos, images of wild-type embryos double-stained for additional
markers, and images of motor axon development in other insect species.
The primer has several interlocking purposes: 1) to serve as a teaching
resource for new members of groups working on genes involved in neuromuscular
system and CNS development; 2) to provide a source of detailed information on
the wild-type pattern of development for groups not currently working on this
system who wish to determine whether their mutants might have effects on
motor axon guidance. Since only a few images of wild-type embryos can be
included in any paper describing a motor axon guidance phenotype, it is
time-consuming for people unfamiliar with the system to determine whether a
subtle phenotype observed in antibody-stained embryos is real; 3) to provide
galleries of images of mutant phenotypes, so that new phenotypes can be
compared in detail to existing phenotypes without the necessity of obtaining
all of the mutant stocks and staining them in one's own laboratory.
We envision that this primer will become linked to collections of images of
the development of other embryonic, larval, and pupal structures (as well as
nervous system images from other species) that have been or will be assembled
by other groups. We have begun this process by linking the current primer to
other resources that we know of, such as the Chris Doe group's neuroblast
map. We welcome any information on other links that we should add. Please
send comments, criticisms, and corrections to K. Zinn at
zinnk at starbase1.caltech.edu.  Again, the address is

Kai Zinn, Caltech

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