Zebrafish represent a powerful vertebrate model that has been under-utilised for metabolic studies. Here we describe a rapid way to measure the in vivo metabolic profile of developing zebrafish that allows the comparison of different mitochondrial function parameters between genetically or pharmacologically manipulated embryos, thereby increasing the applicability of this organism.
Gene function can be obscured in loss-of-function experiments if there is compensation by another gene. The zebrafish model provides a relatively high-throughput means to reveal such functional redundancy in living embryos.
We demonstrate a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) method to identify factor interactions at tissue-specific genes during or after the onset of tissue-specific gene expression in mouse embryonic tissue. This protocol should be widely applicable for the study of tissue-specific gene activation as it occurs during normal embryonic development.
Here, we describe a method for isolation, culture and manipulation of mouse embryonic pancreas. This represents an excellent ex vivo system for studying various aspects of pancreatic development, including morphogenesis, differentiation and growth. Pancreatic bud explants can be cultured for several days and used in a range of different applications, including whole-mount immunofluorescence and live imaging.
1Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, 2Department of Medical Microbiology and Infection Control, VU University Medical Center, 3Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute, Monash University
Transparent zebrafish embryos have proved useful model hosts to visualize and functionally study interactions between innate immune cells and intracellular bacterial pathogens, such as Salmonella typhimurium and Mycobacterium marinum. Micro-injection of bacteria and multi-color fluorescence imaging are essential techniques involved in the application of zebrafish embryo infection models.
Adenovirus-mediated Genetic Removal of Signaling Molecules in Cultured Primary Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts
In this video we use an adenovirus carrying the Cre recombinase gene to infect primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts carrying a floxed Rac1 allele.
1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Center for Stem Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2Department of Pharmacology, Center for Stem Cell Biology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 3Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Isolation of embryonic neural crest from the neural tube facilitates the use of in vitro methods for studying migration, self-renewal, and multipotency of neural crest.
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.
Zebrafish cell transplantation enables the combination of genetics and embryology to generate tissue specific chimeras. This video demonstrates gastrula staged cell transplantations that have allowed our lab to investigate the roles of astroglial populations and specific guidance cues during commissure formation in the forebrain.
We present a technique for labeling single neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) of Drosophila embryos, which allows the analysis of neuronal morphology by either transmitted light or confocal microscopy.
1Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University, 2Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Eccles Institute of Human Genetics, University of Utah
Cilia-generated fluid flow in Kupffer’s Vesicle (KV) controls left-right patterning of the zebrafish embryo. Here, we describe a technique to modulate gene function specifically in KV cells. In addition, we show how to deliver fluorescent beads into KV to visualize fluid flow.
Adult and Embryonic Skeletal Muscle Microexplant Culture and Isolation of Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells
The micro-dissected explants technique is a robust and reliable method for isolating proliferative skeletal muscle cells from juvenile, adult or embryonic muscles as a source of skeletal muscle stem cells. Uniquely, these cells have been clonally derived to produce skeletal muscle stem cell lines used for in vivo transplantation.
Live Imaging of Cell Motility and Actin Cytoskeleton of Individual Neurons and Neural Crest Cells in Zebrafish Embryos
1Genetics Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2Department of Anatomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 3Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 4Cell and Molecular Biology Training Program, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This protocol describes imaging of individual neurons or neural crest cells in living zebrafish embryos. This method is used to examine cellular behaviors and actin localization using fluorescence confocal time-lapse microscopy.
Here we develop the tools necessary for ex vivo live imaging to trace single cell divisions in the mouse E8.5 neuroepithelium
In this article, we present a simple methodology to enable long-term ex-ovo avian embryo culture. This technique is ideal for longitudinal experimentation requiring complete optical accessibility and/or sterile transportation in avian embryos.
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.
1Brain and Behavior Discovery Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University, 2Vision Discovery Institute, Georgia Health Sciences University, 3Department of Opthalmology, Georgia Health Sciences University, 4Intelligent Systems Laboratory, Palo Alto Research Center, 5Pattern Recognition Systems, Palo Alto Research Center, 6Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota
We describe a novel methodology for creating naturalistic 3-D objects and object categories with precisely defined feature variations. We use simulations of the biological processes of morphogenesis and phylogenesis to create novel, naturalistic virtual 3-D objects and object categories that can then be rendered as visual images or haptic objects.
1Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care, School of Medical sciences, Edith Cowan University, 2Centre for Clinical Research in Neuropsychiatry, Graylands Hospital, University of Western Australia, 3McCusker Alzheimer's Research foundation, 4School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, 5Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences, University of Adelaide, 6School of Biomedical Sciences, Curtin University of Technology, 7School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia
This protocol outlines regular maintenance and care to maintain optimal conditions for zebrafish husbandry. The video illustrates the protocol for system maintenance, regular housing, feeding, breeding, and raising of zebrafish larvae.
Here we describe a microdissection technique followed by fluorescent dye injection into the acoustic ganglion of early chick embryos for selective tracing of auditory axon fibers in the nerve and hindbrain.
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.
Multicolor Time-lapse Imaging of Transgenic Zebrafish: Visualizing Retinal Stem Cells Activated by Targeted Neuronal Cell Ablation
In this video, techniques for multicolor confocal time-lapse imaging and targeted cell ablation are provided. Time-lapse imaging is used to monitor the behavior of multiple cell types of interest in vivo. Targeted cell ablation facilitates the study neural circuit function and cell-specific neuronal regeneration paradigms.
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.
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.
Preimplantation embryos may be cryopreserved after placement into a hypertonic cryoprotective solution to cause cellular dehydration. After equilibration, ice crystal formation is induced in the solution surrounding the embryo. Further dehydration occurs as the embryo is slowly cooled to subzero temperatures before plunging into liquid nitrogen for storage.
This study describes the development of an in vitro electroporation technique that allows for the manipulation of gene expression in the lower rhombic lip of midgestation embryos.
We describe a method to separate organelles by density in living Drosophila embryos. Embryos are embedded in agar and centrifuged. This technique yields reproducible separation of major organelles along the anterior-posterior embryo axis. This method facilitates colocalization experiments and yields organelle fractions for biochemical analysis and transplantation experiments.
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.
We describe the procedure to prepare staged Drosophila embryos for the visualization of the embryonic nervous system during embryogenesis.
Here we describe a whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol for determining the expression and localization properties of RNAs expressed during embryogenesis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
Here we describe a method for mounting zebrafish embryos for long-term imaging, two-photon imaging and tissue-damage techniques, and time-lapse confocal imaging.
Live Dissection of Drosophila Embryos: Streamlined Methods for Screening Mutant Collections by Antibody Staining
We describe a streamlined protocol for generating "fillet" preparations of Drosophila embryos of specific genotypes. This protocol allows efficient execution of a variety of genetic screens. It also allows excellent visualization of structures in the late embryo.
Early development of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is characterized by a number of cell shape changes that are well suited for imaging approaches. This article will describe basic tools and methods required for live confocal imaging of Drosophila embryos, and will focus on a cell shape change called cellularization.
This article describes the selection of suitable probes for single-cell FISH, spreading techniques for blastomere nuclei, and in situ hybridization and signal scoring, applied to pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in a clinical setting.
Ex utero Electroporation and Whole Hemisphere Explants: A Simple Experimental Method for Studies of Early Cortical Development
This protocol describes an improved explant procedure that involves ex utero electroporation, dissection and culture of entire cerebral hemispheres from the embryonic mouse. The preparation facilitates pharmacological studies and assays of gene function during early cortical development.
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.
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.
Xenopus laevis provides an ideal model system for studying cell fate specification and physiological function of individual retinal cells in primary cell culture. Here we present a technique for dissecting retinal tissues and generating primary cell cultures that are imaged for calcium activity and analyzed by in situ hybridization.
Using fine tip micropipettes we inject plasmid DNA into subdomains of chicken somites or neural tubes. The concentration of the plasmid is adjusted to generate single transfected cells. We then allow the cells to develop into clonal populations.
In ovo Electroporation in Chick Midbrain for Studying Gene Function in Dopaminergic Neuron Development
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Chicago Research Center, 2Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology and Physiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
To assess the function and the regulation of genes during the development of midbrain dopaminergic neurons, we describe a method that involves in ovo electroporation of plasmid DNA constructs into embryonic chick ventral midbrain dopaminergic neuron progenitors. This technique can be used to achieve efficient expression of genes of interest to study different aspects of midbrain development and dopaminergic neuron differentiation.
We demonstrate our approach to finding potential enhancer elements from developmentally regulated genes and evaluating their function through mosaic zebrafish transgenesis.
1Neural Development Group, Division of Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK, 2Wellcome Trust Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
Imaging embryonic tissue in real-time is challenging over long periods of time. Here we present an assay for monitoring cellular and sub-cellular changes in chick spinal cord for long periods with high spatial and temporal resolution. This technique can be adapted for other regions of the nervous system and developing embryo.
A protocol for separation of embryo facial ectoderm and mesenchyme is described. We use Dispase II to treat whole embryos first, dissect whole facial prominences out, and then separate the facial ectoderm and mesenchyme.
Animal caps overexpressing gene product(s) are transplanted to the flank of developing Xenopus laevis embryos in order to establish whether tissue is determined.
DiI-Labeling of DRG Neurons to Study Axonal Branching in a Whole Mount Preparation of Mouse Embryonic Spinal Cord
The stereotyped projections of sensory afferents into the rodent spinal cord offer an easily accessible experimental system to study axonal branching through the tracing of single axons.
Drosophila hemocytes disperse over the entirety of the developing embryo. This protocol demonstrates how to mount and image these migrations using embryos with fluorescently labelled hemocytes.
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.
An approach for analyzing migration and eventual fate of avian neural crest cells in quail-chick chimeric embryos is described. This method is a simple and straightforward technique for tracing neural crest cells during migration and differentiation that are otherwise difficult to distinguish within an unmanipulated chick embryo.
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.
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, 2Institute for Information Transmission Problems, Russian Academy of Sciences, 3Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Washington University
This article describes surface labeling and ex ovo tissue culture in the early chick embryo. Techniques amenable to time-lapse bright field, fluorescence, and optical coherence tomography imaging are presented. Tracking surface labels with high spatiotemporal resolution enables kinematic quantities such as morphogenetic strains (deformations) to be calculated in both two and three dimensions.
Cultured muscle cells are an inadequate model to recapitulate innervated muscle in vivo. A functional motor unit can be reproduced in vitro by innervation of differentiated human primary muscle cells using rat embryo spinal cord explants. This article describes how co-cultures of spinal cord explants and muscle cells are established.