Drosophila cultured cell lines

Cell Lines

The most commonly used Drosophila cell line is probably the Schneider 2 (S2) cell line, which was derived from embryos. Another popular choice for screening at the DRSC-FGR is the S2R+ cell line. But there are many other options.

What cells you choose will affect:

  • Your assay, as different lineages are appropriate for different biological assays
  • Your protocol, as many cells take up dsRNA in solution (bathing method) but others require the addition of a transfection agent for efficient up-take
  • Your results, as different cells express different sub-sets of genes.
  • Keep in mind that it's possible to customize an existing cell line with one or more transgenic construct (via transient transfection or production of a stable cell line). This is useful to monitor transcriptional activation, to track the sub-cellular localization of a tagged protein, and more.

Need Cells?

Researchers who would like to obtain cells from the DRSC collection in advance of a screen should contact the Director. We have these cell lines available for screening: S2, S2R+, Clone 8, Kc. Please be aware that one lab's "S2" may not be identical to another lab's "S2" cells (and so on - this is true for any cell line). We encourage researchers to get a sample of our cells for assay development. This helps cross-experiment analysis, including analysis of RNAi screen datasets here at the DRSC and cell line data generated as part of the modENCODE project (which used cells from the DRSC).

The Drosophila Genomics Resource Center (DGRC) in Bloomington maintains and distributes many Drosophila cell lines, in addition to posting protocols. In addition, FlyBase maintains a list of resources for fly cells.

This paper has useful information about cell line karyotypes (see Table 1): Williams BR, Bateman JR, Novikov ND, Wu CT. Disruption of topoisomerase II perturbs pairing in drosophila cell culture. Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):31-46. PubMedID: 17890361

Additional information

The cell lines in the table below are commonly used for cell-based screens. S2, S2R+ and Kc cells in particular are popular choices (see Screen Summary).

FDrosophila cell types commonly used in screens.

Line

Origin

Received from

Reference

Characteristics

Schneider's Line S2 - (S2)

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Invitrogen

Schneider, 1972

hemocyte-like gene expression, phagocytic, semi-adherent in colonies, round, granular cytoplasm

Schneider's S2 - (S2*)

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Maniatis

hemocyte-like gene expression, phagocytic, semi-adherent in colonies, round, granular cytoplasm

Schneider's S2 - (S2C)

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Cherbas

hemocyte-like gene expression, semi-adherent in colonies, round, granular cytoplasm

Schneider's S2 - (S2-R+)

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Yanagawa

Yanagawa, S. et al,1998

hemocyte-like gene expression, phagocytic, adherent, flat cells; Fz+ and Wg-responsive

Schneider's S2 - (DL2)

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Peter Christian

hemocyte-like gene expression, phagocytic, adherent monolayer of uniformly round, smooth cells

Schneider's Line S3

Dissociated embryos, near hatching (Oregon R)

Cherbas

Schneider, 1972

adherent, spindle-shaped cells, ecdysone responsive, grow in clumps

Kc (Kc 167)

Dissociated embryos, 8 - 12 h (F2 ebony x sepia)

Cherbas

Echalier and Ohanessian, 1969

hemocyte-like gene expression, phagocytic, uniformly round, clump in sheets, ecdysone responsive into adherent, bipolar spindle-shaped cells

l(2)mbn

3rd instar larvae tumorous hemocytes, (l(2)malignant blood neoplasm)

Maja Petersen

Gateff et al, 1980

larger cells, larger granular, complex cytoplasm, phagocytic, aneuploid, heterogenous size and shape

ML-DmBG2

Dissociated 3rd instar larvae brain and ventral ganglia (y v f mal)

Ui et al, 1994

acetylcholine, HRP expression, neuronal-like processes

ML-DmBG6

Dissociated 3rd instar larvae brain and ventral ganglia (y v f mal)

Ui et al, 1994

acetylcholine, HRP expression, neuronal-like processes

clone 8

3rd instar larvae wing imaginal discs

Peel et al., 1990

columnar epithelial, adherent, will form multiple layers, conserved signaling pathways

References cited in the table

  • Echalier, G. and A. Ohanessian. C R Acad Sci Hebd Seances Acad Sci D. 1969 Mar 31;268(13):1771-3.
  • Haars R, Zentgraf H, Gateff E, Bautz FA. Virology. 1980 Feb;101(1):124-30.
  • Peel DJ, Johnson SA, Milner MJ. Tissue Cell. 1990;22(5):749-58.
  • Schneider I. J Embryol Exp Morphol. 1972 Apr;27(2):353-65.
  • Ui K, Nishihara S, Sakuma M, Togashi S, Ueda R, Miyata Y, Miyake T. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 1994 Apr;30A(4):209-16.
  • Yanagawa, S., J.S.Lee, A. Ishimoto. J Biol Chem. 1998 Nov 27;273(48)