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GAL4 System

Targeted gene expression as a means of altering cell fates and generating dominant phenotypes
Brand AH and Perrimon N (1993) Development

The GAL4 system was developed by Andrea Brand and Norbert Perrimon in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. The system makes use of the transcriptional machinery required for galactose metabolism in yeast: the GAL4 protein binds to its upstream activating sequence (UAS) and activates gene expression.

In Drosophila, GAL4 expression is under the control of a tissue-specific enhancer and the gene of interest is under the control of UAS. When a GAL4 driver line is crossed to a line with the UAS-target gene, the progeny express the gene of interest only in the cells in which the GAL4 is present.

The GAL4 system has been adapted for many experimental uses such as cell labeling, expressing or knocking-down genes of interest and the analysis of genome-wide protein-DNA interactions. In addition, there exist many tools for refining further the temporal and spatial expression patterns achieved with the GAL4 system. Details can be found in the following reviews:

The GAL4 System: A Versatile System for the Manipulation and Analysis of Gene Expression
Caygill EE and Brand AH (2017) Methods in Molecular Biology

The GAL4 System: A versatile toolkit for gene expression in Drosophila
Southall TD, Elliott DA and Brand AH (2008) Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

Generation of driver and reporter constructs for the GAL4 expression system in Drosophila
Southall TD and Brand AH (2008) Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

The GAL4 System: a versatile system for the expression of genes
Elliott DA and Brand AH (2008) Methods in Molecular Biology

Ectopic gene expression in Drosophila using the GAL4 system
Phelps C and Brand AH (1998) Methods: A Companion to Methods in Enzymology

The GAL4 System as a tool for unravelling the mysteries of the Drosophila nervous system
Brand AH and Dormand EL (1995) Current Opinion in Neurobiology


Available reagents:

Please contact Andrea Brand