An international collaboration involving scientists from University of Zurich, Switzerland, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, France, Aix Marseille University, France and professor Mikael Bjorklund from ZJE Institute published an article entitled" Generation of a versatile BiFC ORFeome library for analyzing protein-protein interactions in live Drosophila" in journal eLIFE.
This work describes the generation of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), which can be used to analyze physical interactions between transcription factors, the DNA binding proteins responsible for gene expression. Analysis of the interactions between these proteins is essential for understanding the principles of how gene expression is regulated in living animals. To illustrate the power of the protein interaction analysis, it was found that the closely related transcription factors Ubx or AbdA had nearly identical interaction partners, but crucially several interactions were found to be exclusive to either Ubx or AbdA. Such findings can potentially explain known differences in tissue specific expression patterns caused by these closely related transcription factors.
Figure. (A) Principle of the interaction analysis method. A candidate ORF (Open
Reading Frame) and a potential interaction partner (bait) protein are fused to fragments of a fluorescent protein (VN and VC). If the proteins interact, they bring the fragments of the fluorescent protein next to each other, allowing the detection of the fluorescent protein by microscopy. (B) Confocal microscopy images of live Drosophila embryos showing where each protein interactions occurs.
While the current research focused on developing an extensive collection of transcription factor expressing fruit flies, the same methodology can be applied to any proteins and also extended to other model organisms.
You can access the full paper here: https://elifesciences.org/articles/38853