A genetically encoded fluorescent probe for imaging of oxygenation gradients in living drosophila

Peter V. Lidsky, Konstantin A. Lukyanov, Tvisha Misra, Björn Handke, Alexander S. Mishin, Christian F. Lehner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen concentrations vary between tissues of multicellular organisms and change under certain physiological or pathological conditions. Multiple methods have been developed for measuring oxygenation of biological samples in vitro and in vivo. However, most require complex equipment, are laborious and have significant limitations. Here we report that oxygen concentration determines the choice between two maturation pathways of DsRed FT (Timer). At high oxygen levels, this DsRed derivate matures predominantly into a red fluorescent isoform. By contrast, a green fluorescent isoform is favored by low oxygen levels. Ratiometric analysis of green and red fluorescence after a pulse of Timer expression in Drosophila larvae provides a record of the history of tissue oxygenation during a subsequent chase period, for the whole animal with single-cell precision. Tissue spreads revealed fine differences in oxygen exposure among different cells of the same organ. We expect that the simplicity and robustness of our approach will greatly impact hypoxia research, especially in small animal models.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev156257
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluorescence
  • Hypoxia
  • Oxygen
  • Reporter


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