NaNuTrap: a technique for in vivo cell nucleus labelling using nanobodies


In vivo cell labelling is challenging in fast developmental processes because many cell types differentiate more quickly than the maturation time of fluorescent proteins, making visualization of these tissues impossible with standard techniques. Here, we present a nanobody-based method, Nanobody Nuclear Trap (NaNuTrap), which works with the existing Gal4/UAS system in Drosophila and allows for early in vivo cell nuclei labelling independently of the maturation time of the fluorescent protein. This restores the utility of fluorescent proteins that have longer maturation times, such as those used in two-photon imaging, for live imaging of fast or very early developmental processes. We also present a more general application of this system, whereby NaNuTrap can convert cytoplasmic GFP expressed in any existing transgenic fly line into a nuclear label. This nuclear re-localization of the fluorescent signal can improve the utility of the GFP label, e.g. in cell counting, as well as resulting in a general increase in intensity of the live fluorescent signal. We demonstrate these capabilities of NaNuTrap by effectively tracking subsets of cells during the fast movements associated with gastrulation.