Live imaging of apoptotic cell learance during Drosophila embryogenesis

Boris Shklyar, Jeny Shklover, Estee Kurant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The proper elimination of unwanted or aberrant cells through apoptosis and subsequent phagocytosis (apoptotic cell clearance) is crucial for normal development in all metazoan organisms. Apoptotic cell clearance is a highly dynamic process intimately associated with cell death; unengulfed apoptotic cells are barely seen in vivo under normal conditions. In order to understand the different steps of apoptotic cell clearance and to compare 'professional' phagocytes - macrophages and dendritic cells to 'non-professional' - tissue-resident neighboring cells, in vivo live imaging of the process is extremely valuable. Here we describe a protocol for studying apoptotic cell clearance in live Drosophila embryos. To follow the dynamics of different steps in phagocytosis we use specific markers for apoptotic cells and phagocytes. In addition, we can monitor two phagocyte systems in parallel: 'professional' macrophages and 'semi-professional' glia in the developing central nervous system (CNS). The method described here employs the Drosophila embryo as an excellent model for real time studies of apoptotic cell clearance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number78
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Apoptosis
  • Bioengineering
  • Biology (general)
  • Cell biology
  • Cellular biology
  • Developmental
  • Developmental biology
  • Drosophila
  • Embryo
  • Fruit fly
  • Genes
  • Genetics
  • Genetics (animal and plant)
  • Glia
  • Immunity
  • Innate
  • Issue 78
  • Life sciences
  • Molecular biology
  • Phagocytosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Live imaging of apoptotic cell learance during Drosophila embryogenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this