The fate of an individual embryonic cell can be influenced by inherited molecules and/or by signals from neighboring cells. Utilizing fate maps of the cleavage stage Xenopus embryo, single blastomeres can be identified for culture in isolation to assess the contributions of inherited molecules versus cell-cell interactions.
A High Throughput in situ Hybridization Method to Characterize mRNA Expression Patterns in the Fetal Mouse Lower Urogenital Tract
Here, we describe an efficient high throughput in situ hybridization (ISH) method for visualizing patterns of mRNA expression in developing fetal mouse prostate tissue sections. The method can be easily adapted to visualize mRNA expression patterns in other mouse tissues or in tissues from other species.
Recording Multicellular Behavior in Myxococcus xanthus Biofilms using Time-lapse Microcinematography
To study Myxococcus xanthus swarm behavior, we have designed a time-lapse microcinematography protocol that can be modified for different assays. It employs standard growth conditions adapted for microscopy, and yields reproducible results by the use of inexpensive, reusable silicone gaskets. We have used this method to quantify multicellular chemotaxis.
The ECIS/Taxis system is an automated, real-time assay that measures cellular chemotaxis. In this assay, cells move beneath a layer of agarose to arrive at a target electrode. Cellular movement is measured by the onset of resistance to AC current 0.
Goal of the presentation is to demonstrate a highly reproducible method to generate matrix associated stem cell implants in cartilage defects, which can be visualized with MR imaging. Stem cells are labeled with FDA-approved Ferumoxides, mixed with agarose, implanted into cartilage defects and imaged with a 7T MR scanner.
The zebrafish maxillary barbel is an integumentary sense organ containing ectodermal, mesodermal and neural crest derivatives. Importantly, the adult barbel can regenerate after proximal amputation. This video introduces maxillary barbel development and demonstrates a surgical protocol to induce regeneration, followed by collection, embedding and downstream imaging of barbel specimens.
Key to understanding the morphogenetic processes that shape the early embryo is the ability to image cells at high resolution. We describe here a technique for labeling single cells or small clusters of cells in whole zebrafish embryos with membrane-targeted Green Fluorescent Protein.
Slice cultures facilitate the manipulation of embryo development by gene and pharmacological perturbations. However, culture conditions must ensure that normal development can proceed within the reduced environment of the slice. We illustrate a protocol that facilitates normal spinal cord development to proceed for at least 24 hr.
The biosynthesis of cartilaginous extracellular matrix by chondrocytes can be affected by application of mechanical stimuli. This method describes the technique of applying dynamic compressive strains to chondrocytes encapsulated in 3D constructs and the evaluation of induced changes in chondrocyte metabolism.
Optogenetic techniques have made it possible to study the contribution of specific neurons to behavior. We describe a method in larval zebrafish for activating single somatosensory neurons expressing a channelrhodopsin variant (ChEF) with a diode-pumped solid state (DPSS) laser and recording the elicited behaviors with a high-speed video camera.
Drosophila larvae are able to associate odor stimuli with gustatory reward. Here we describe a simple behavioral paradigm that allows the analysis of appetitive associative olfactory learning.
Transplantation of GFP-expressing Blastomeres for Live Imaging of Retinal and Brain Development in Chimeric Zebrafish Embryos
We demonstrate a protocol to generate chimeric zebrafish embryos for live imaging cellular behavior during embryogenesis.
Medaka and zebrafish are complementary for genetic dissection of vertebrate genome functions. This protocol highlights the key points for successful microinjection into medaka embryos, an important technique for embryological and genetic analysis using medaka and zebrafish in a laboratory.
Time-lapse Live Imaging of Clonally Related Neural Progenitor Cells in the Developing Zebrafish Forebrain
The present video demonstrates a method which takes advantage of the combination of electroporation and confocal microscopy to perform live imaging on individual neural progenitor cells in the developing zebrafish forebrain. In vivo analysis of the development of forebrain neural progenitor cells at a clonal level can be achieved in this way.
Directed Cellular Self-Assembly to Fabricate Cell-Derived Tissue Rings for Biomechanical Analysis and Tissue Engineering
This article outlines a versatile method to create cell-derived tissue rings by cellular self-assembly. Smooth muscle cells seeded into ring-shaped agarose wells aggregate and contract to form robust three-dimensional (3D) tissues within 7 days. Millimeter-scale tissue rings are conducive to mechanical testing and serve as building blocks for tissue assembly.
The method presented here comprises the precise injury of live zebrafish embryos with high-energy laser pulses and the subsequent analysis of these injuries and their recovery with time. We also show how genetically labeled single or groups of skeletal muscle cells can be tracked during and after laser light induced damage.
A detailed protocol is described for imaging the real time formation of DNA repair complexes in Bacillus subtilis cells.
Targeting Olfactory Bulb Neurons Using Combined In Vivo Electroporation and Gal4-Based Enhancer Trap Zebrafish Lines
1Department of Biology, Pace University, 2Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 3Division of Cell Biology and Cell Physiology, Zoological Institute, Braunschweig University of Technology
The temporal and spatial resolution of genetic manipulations determines the spectrum of biological phenomena that they can perturb. Here we use temporally and spatially discrete in vivo electroporation, combined with transgenic lines of zebrafish, to induce expression of a GFP transgene specifically in neurons of the developing olfactory bulb.
1Department of Obstretrics & Gynaecology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, 2Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, 3Children's Health Research Institute
Bisulfite mutagenesis is the gold standard for analyzing DNA methylation. Our modified protocol allows for DNA methylation analysis at the single-cell level and was specifically designed for individual oocytes. It can also be used for cleavage-stage embryos.
Human Neuroendocrine Tumor Cell Lines as a Three-Dimensional Model for the Study of Human Neuroendocrine Tumor Therapy
1Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation, 2The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, 3School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey
We present a simple agarose overlay platform to grow 3D multicellular spheroids using neuroendocrine cancer cell lines. This method provides a very convenient way to examine the effect of therapeutic drugs on the neuroendocrine tumor cells. It could also help us establish human neuroendocrine tumor spheroids for cancer therapy.
Lens development involves interactions with other tissues. Several zebrafish eye mutants are characterized by an abnormally small lens size. Here we demonstrate a lens transplantation experiment to determine whether this phenotype is due to intrinsic causes or defective interactions with tissues that surround the lens.
1Department of Molecular & Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 2Precisionary Instruments Inc., 3Departments of Molecular & Human Genetics and Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), 4Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, Texas Children's Hospital
Here we describe a rapid and simple method to image fluorescently labeled cells in semi-thick brain slices. By fixing, slicing, and optically clearing brain tissue we describe how standard epifluorescent or confocal imaging can be used to visualize individual cells and neuronal networks within intact nervous tissue.
A basic protocol for the separation of DNA fragments using agarose gel electrophoresis is described.
Vibratome Sectioning for Enhanced Preservation of the Cytoarchitecture of the Mammalian Organ of Corti
A simple procedure of vibratome sectioning the organ of Corti, followed by immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy is described. This procedure allows for improved preservation of the fine cytoarchitecture of the mammalian organ of Corti, and consequently allows for accurate quantification of cell types.
In this video, we demonstrate a method by which to analyze the developing vertebrate brain in live zebrafish embryos at single cell resolution by confocal microscopy. This includes the method by which we inject the single-cell zebrafish embryo and subsequently mount and image the developing brain.
Traditionally the vertical slice and the whole-mount preparation of the retina have been used to study the function of retinal circuits. Here, we describe the novel slicing method to preserve the dendritic morphology of retinal neurons intact.
1Department of Orthopaedics, The Warren Alpert Brown Medical School of Brown University and the Rhode Island Hospital, 2Center for Restorative and Regenerative Medicine, VA Medical Center, Providence, RI, 3University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
We designed a novel mechanical loading bioreactor that can apply uniaxial or biaxial mechanical strain to a cartilage biocomposite prior to transplantation into an articular cartilage defect.
The rapid development, small size and transparency of zebrafish are tremendous advantages for the study of innate immune control of infection1-4. Here we demonstrate techniques for infecting zebrafish larvae using the fungal pathogen Candida albicans by microinjection, methodology recently used to implicate phagocyte NADPH oxidase activity in control of fungal dimorphism5.
1Department of Biochemistry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, 2Macromolecular Therapeutics Development Facility, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, 3Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University
A click-chemistry based method that allows for the rapid, noninvasive, and robust labeling of alkyne-tagged glycans in zebrafish embryos is described. Fucosylated glycans in the enveloping layer of zebrafish embryos in the late gastrulation stage were imaged in this study.
Described here is an in vivo technique to image sub-cellular structures in animals exposed to anoxia using a gas flow through microincubation chamber in conjunction with a spinning disc confocal microscope. This method is straightforward and flexible enough to suit a variety of experimental parameters and model systems.
Single-molecule Imaging of Gene Regulation In vivo Using Cotranslational Activation by Cleavage (CoTrAC)
1Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 3Department of Physics, Jilin University
We describe a fluorescence microscopy method, Co-Translational Activation by Cleavage (CoTrAC), to image the production of protein molecules in live cells with single-molecule precision without perturbing the protein's functionality. This method has been used to follow the stochastic expression dynamics of a transcription factor, the λ repressor CI 1.
1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Alabama-Birmingham, 2Department of Radiation Oncology, The Ohio State University Medical School, 3Department of Cell Biology, and Pharmacology and Toxicology, Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, University of Alabama-Birmingham
The comet assay is an efficient way of detecting single- and double-strand breaks, including alkali-labile sites and DNA-DNA/DNA-protein cross-links on the DNA in all cells including hippocampal neurons. The method takes advantage of the differential migration of DNA in an electric field due to differences in amount of DNA damage.
Methods for Study of Neuronal Morphogenesis: Ex vivo RNAi Electroporation in Embryonic Murine Cerebral Cortex
1Department of Molecular, Cellular Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, 2Institute for Brain Science, Brown University, 3Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University
To conduct a rapid assessment of the function of genes in the development of cerebral cortex, we describe methods involving the ex vivo electroporation of plasmids co-expressing inhibitory RNA (RNAi) and GFP in murine embryonic cortex. This protocol is amenable to the study of various aspects of neurodevelopment such as neurogenesis, neuronal migration and neuronal morphogenesis including dendrite and axon outgrowth.
Tandem affinity purification is a robust approach for the identification of protein binding partners. As proof of concept, this methodology was applied to the well-characterized translation initiation factor eIF4E to co-precipitate the host cell factors involved in translation initiation. This method is easily adapted to any cellular or viral protein.
Organotypic Slice Culture of GFP-expressing Mouse Embryos for Real-time Imaging of Peripheral Nerve Outgrowth
We present a method to prepare organotypic slices of mid-gestation mouse embryos for the cultivation and time-lapse imaging of peripheral nerve outgrowth.
We present a method to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and to create a system which lacks CSF within the embryonic zebrafish brain ventricular system. This allows for further examination of CSF composition and its requirement during embryonic brain development.
Until recently, expression studies on human brain were limited to quantification of RNA or protein. With the chromatin immunoprecipitation techniques described in this paper, it will be possible to map histone methylation and other epigenetic regulators of gene expression in postmortem brain.
This protocol delineates a way to label and trace the fate of small groups of cells zebrafish embryos using UV-uncaging of caged fluorescein, followed by whole mount immunolabeling to amplify the signal from the uncaged fluorescein.
This article describes a technique for the visualization of the early events of embryogenesis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.
A protocol to cut neurons in C. elegans with a MicroPoint pulsed laser is presented. We describe setting up the system, immobilizing worms, and severing labeled neurons. Advantages include a relatively low-cost system and the ability to sever neuronal processes or ablate cells in vivo.
Here we describe a method to quantify infectious particles of murine norovirus (MNV), which is the only norovirus that efficiently replicates in cell culture. The plaque assay takes advantage of MNV’s tropism for murine macrophages and can be adapted for use with biological or environmental samples containing MNV.
1Biomedical Engineering Department, Cornell University, 2Neurosurgical Laboratory for Translational Stem Cell Research, Weill Cornell Brain Tumor Center, Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, 3Cell Morphology Department, Instituto de Investigacion Principe Felipe, 4Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University
We demonstrate that the over expression of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) enhances the motility of neural stem cells(NSCs) using a novel agarose gel based microfluidic device. This technology can be readily adaptable to other mammalian cell systems where cell sources are scarce, such as human neural stem cells, and the turn around time is critical.
Targeted Labeling of Neurons in a Specific Functional Micro-domain of the Neocortex by Combining Intrinsic Signal and Two-photon Imaging
A method is described for labeling neurons with fluorescent dyes in predetermined functional micro-domains of the neocortex. First, intrinsic signal optical imaging is used to obtain a functional map. Then two-photon microscopy is used to label and image neurons within a micro-domain of the map.
Multiphoton microscopy allows control of low energy photons with deep optical penetration and reduced phototoxicity. We describe the use of this technology for live cell labeling in zebrafish embryos. This protocol can be readily adapted for photo-induction of various light-responsive molecules.
Due to the hard chorion and soft embryos, manipulation of medaka embryos is more involved than in zebrafish. This video shows step-by-step procedures for how to manipulate medaka embryos, including dechorionation, mounting in agarose for imaging and cell transplantation for the production of chimeras. These procedures are essential to use medaka and zebrafish in a laboratory to take full advantage of their complementary features for the genetic dissection of vertebrate genome functions.
Direct Delivery of MIF Morpholinos Into the Zebrafish Otocyst by Injection and Electroporation Affects Inner Ear Development
1Department of Veterinary Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 3Present address: Department of Pulmonary Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 4Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
A method to deliver morpholinos directly into the zebrafish otocyst at 24hpf has been developed. Using microinjection of morpholinos into the lumen of otic vesicle and electroporation to effect penetration, we were able to bypass the effect of morpholinos on the brain and obtain effects specific to the inner ear.
In this video article, we describe a new method allowing the construction of odorant gradients with stable and controllable geometries. We briefly illustrate how these gradients can be used to screen for olfactory defects (full and partial anosmia) and to study more subtle features of chemotaxis behavior.
The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for studying cell biology and development. We present a protocol for live imaging of C. elegans embryos utilizing DIC optics or fluorescence using readily available epifluorescent microscopes and open-source software.
Dying cells are extruded from epithelial tissues by concerted contraction of neighboring cells without disrupting barrier function. The optical clarity of developing zebrafish provides an excellent system to visualize extrusion in living epithelia. Here we describe methods to induce and image extrusion in the larval zebrafish epidermis at cellular resolution.
Construction of a fosmid library with environmental genomic DNA isolated from the vertical depth continuum of a seasonally hypoxic fjord is described. The resulting clone library is picked into 384-well plates and archived for downstream sequencing and functional screening by the application of an automated colony picking system.