Chitin is a polymer of N-acetylglucosamine that is abundant and widely found in the biological world. It is an important constituent of the cuticular exoskeleton that plays such key role in the insect life style. A limitation in the study of chitin deposition during cuticle formation has been the lack of a way to detect it in living organisms. To get around this we developed ChtVis-Tomato, an in vivo reporter for chitin in Drosophila. ChtVis-Tomato encodes a fusion protein that contains an apical secretion signal, a chitin binding domain, a fluorescent protein and a cleavage site to release it from the plasma membrane. The chitin reporter allowed us to study chitin deposition in time lapse experiments and using it we identified unexpected deposits of chitin fibers in Drosophila pupae. Cht-Vis-Tomato should facilitate future studies on chitin in Drosophila and other insects
- Received May 29, 2015.
- Accepted September 8, 2015.