A modified 3-D in vitro system is presented in which growth characteristics of several tumor cell lines in reconstituted basement membrane correlate with the dormant or proliferative behavior of the tumor cells at a metastatic secondary site in vivo.
Demonstrating the Uses of the Novel Gravitational Force Spectrometer to Stretch and Measure Fibrous Proteins
This is a step-by step guide showing the purpose, operation, and representative results from the novel gravitational force spectrometer.
Engineering Skeletal Muscle Tissues from Murine Myoblast Progenitor Cells and Application of Electrical Stimulation
Engineered muscle tissue has great potential in regenerative medicine, as disease model and also as an alternative source for meat. Here we describe the engineering of a muscle construct, in this case from mouse myoblast progenitor cells, and the stimulation by electrical pulses.
1Development and Aging Program, The Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research, 2Cardiac Electrophysiology Group, Dept. of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, The Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research, 3Biology Department and Heart Institute, San Diego State University
We have developed a Semi-automated Optical Heartbeat Analysis method (SOHA) for analyzing high speed optical recordings from Drosophila, zebrafish and embryonic mouse hearts. We demonstrate the application of our methodology to the analysis of heart function in fruit fly and embryonic mouse hearts.
1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Medical University of South Carolina, 2Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina, 3National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
Mechanosensory hair cells are the receptor cells of the inner ear. The best-characterized in vitro model system of mature mammalian hair cells utilizes organ cultures of utricles from adult mice. We present the dissection of the adult mouse utricle, and we demonstrate adenovirus-mediated infection of supporting cells in cultured utricles.
A rapid way to conduct immunostaining of zebrafish embryonic heart is described. Compared to the whole mount immunostaining approach, this method dramatically increases the penetration of the antibodies, which allows obtaining high resolution images that reveal cellular/subcellular structures in the heart within a much reduced processing time.
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.
We introduce an approach to evaluate the cytosolic Ca2+ concentration in isolated lymphatics to study Ca2+-dependent and Ca2+-sensitizing mechanisms of lymphatic smooth muscle contraction.
Here we describe a basic protocol for fluorescent labeling of different elements of heart tubes from larva and adult Drosophila melanogaster. These specimens are well-suited for imaging via fluorescent or confocal microscopy. This technique permits detailed structural analysis of the features of the hearts from a powerful model organism.
T lymphocyte migration occurs during homing to lymphoid organs, exit from the vasculature, and entering into peripheral tissues. Here, we describe a protocol that can be used to analyze T lymphocyte migration in vitro.
Cardiac nuclei are isolated via density sedimentation and immunolabeled with antibodies against pericentriolar material 1 (PCM-1) to identify and sort cardiomyocyte nuclei by flow cytometry.
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.
Here we describe a method for the isolation of hepatic stellate cells from mouse liver. For stellate cell purification, mouse livers are digested in situ and in vitro by pronase-collagenase treatment prior to density gradient centrifugation. This technique yields highly pure hepatic stellate cells.
Calmodulin (CaM) pull-down assay is an effective way to investigate the interaction of CaM with various proteins. This method uses CaM-sepharose beads for efficient and specific analysis of CaM-binding proteins. This provides an important tool to explore CaM signaling in cellular function.
We describe the isolation of neonatal cardiomyocytes and the preparation of the cells for encapsulation in fibrin hydrogel constructs for tissue engineering. We describe methods for analyzing the tissue engineered myocardium after the culture period including active force generated upon electrical stimulation and cell viability and immunohistological staining.
We present a method for using MALDI mass spectrometry and reductive methylation chemistry to quantify changes in lysine methylation.
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.
We developed an alternant hindlimb unloading model in mice. The primary advantage of our hindlimb unloading tail-ring method over the conventional Morey-Holton tail-traction technique is a simple straightforward procedure that minimizes stress upon the animal.
Microfluidic-based Electrotaxis for On-demand Quantitative Analysis of Caenorhabditis elegans' Locomotion
A semi-automated micro-electro-fluidic method to induce on-demand locomotion in Caenorhabditis elegans is described. This method is based on the neurophysiologic phenomenon of worms responding to mild electric fields (“electrotaxis”) inside microfluidic channels. Microfluidic electrotaxis serves as a rapid, sensitive, low-cost, and scalable technique to screen for factors affecting neuronal health.
A method to visualize and quantify F-actin barbed ends in neuronal growth cones is described. After culturing neurons on glass coverslips, cells are permeabilized with a saponin-containing solution. Then, a short incubation with the saponin buffer containing rhodamine-actin incorporates fluorescent actin onto free actin barbed ends.
Evaluation of Muscle Function of the Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle Ex vivo and Tibialis Anterior Muscle In situ in Mice
Changes in limb muscle contractile and passive mechanical properties are important biomarkers for muscle diseases. This manuscript describes physiological assays to measure these properties in the murine extensor digitorum longus and tibialis anterior muscles.
Here we demonstrate a method for inducing and recording the progress of a delayed type-hypersensitivity (DTH) reaction in the rat ear. This is followed by a demonstration of the preparation of rat ear tissue for two-photon imaging of the effector / memory T cell response.
Live-cell Imaging of Migrating Cells Expressing Fluorescently-tagged Proteins in a Three-dimensional Matrix
Cellular processes such as cell migration have traditionally been studied on two-dimensional, stiff plastic surfaces. This report describes a technique for directly visualizing protein localization and analyzing protein dynamics in cells migrating in a more physiologically relevant, three-dimensional matrix.
This video demonstrates the surgical preparation and procedures needed to study the contractile responses of the rat medial gastrocnemius muscle preparation in situ. This preparation allows measurement of skeletal muscle contractile properties under physiological conditions. The animal is anesthetized and the muscle is separated from surrounding tissue at its distal end. The Achilles tendon is attached to a force transducer, allowing measurement of the muscle’s contractile response at 37 degrees C with an intact circulation.
A clear, standardized method for dissection and isolation of the zebrafish heart at multiple developmental stages are described. Annotation and quantification techniques are also discussed.
We describe detailed procedures for the efficient transfection of plasmid DNA into the fibers of foot muscles of live mice using electroporation and the subsequent visualization of protein expression using fluorescence microscopy.
The presented method offers a way to detect functional effective cardiotropic autoantibodies in the plasma of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, irrespective of the specific antigen, by analysing the impact of isolated patient immunoglobulin on cellular shortening and intracellular calcium transients in isolated rat cardiomyocytes.
Visualization of Cortex Organization and Dynamics in Microorganisms, using Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscopy
Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy is a powerful approach to observe structures close to the cell surface at high contrast and temporal resolution. We demonstrate how TIRF can be employed to study protein dynamics at the cortex of cell wall-enclosed bacterial and fungal cells.
Affinity Precipitation of Active Rho-GEFs Using a GST-tagged Mutant Rho Protein (GST-RhoA(G17A)) from Epithelial Cell Lysates
1Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, 2Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, 3Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The method presented here describes an assay to follow activation of RhoA specific GDP/GTP Exchange Factors (GEFs) in cultured cells by making use of a mutant RhoA GST fusion protein that has high affinity for activated GEFs. GEFs are precipitated from cell lysates, detected by Western blotting and quantified by densitometry.
The mesothelial clearance assay described here takes advantage of fluorescently labeled cells and time-lapse video microscopy to visualize and quantitatively measure the interactions of ovarian cancer multicellular spheroids and mesothelial cell monolayers. This assay models the early steps of ovarian cancer metastasis.
1Institute for Molecular Cardiovascular Research, RWTH Aachen University, 2Institute for Textile Technology and Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, 3Institute for Applied Medical Engineering, Helmholtz-Institute of RWTH Aachen University, 4Department of Experimental Molecular Imaging, RWTH Aachen University, 5Department of Oral and Maxillofacila Surgery, RWTH Aachen University
A model of stent implantation in mouse carotid artery is described. Compared to other similar methods, this procedure is very rapid, simple and accessible, offering the possibility to study in a convenient way the vascular wall reaction to different drug-eluting stents and the molecular mechanisms of restenosis.
1Department of Biology, University of Iowa, 2Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc.
A combination of different techniques to maximize data collection from mouse tissue is presented.
Details methods for high-resolution Ca2+ imaging of smooth muscle within isolated organs, including: preparation of the tissue, image acquisition and data analysis.
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.
A method to measure the persistence length or flexural rigidity of biopolymers is described. The method uses a kinesin-driven microtubule gliding assay to experimentally determine the persistence length of individual microtubules and is adaptable to actin-based gliding assays.
1Department of Otology and Laryngology, Harvard Medical School, 2Eaton-Peabody Laboratory, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 3Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Emerson College, 4Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, Division of Health Science and Technology, Harvard
This procedure describes a method for the isolation and culture of the murine organ of Corti with or without the spiral limbus and spiral ganglion neurons. We also demonstrate a method for the expression of an exogenous reporter gene in the organ of Corti explant by electroporation.
Our group has developed a bioreactor culture system that mimics the physiological pulsatile stresses of the cardiovascular system to regenerate implantable small-diameter vascular grafts.
Zebrafish represents a valuable model to study the mechanisms of heart regeneration in vertebrates. Here, we present a protocol for induction of a heart infarct in adult zebrafish using cryoinjury. This method results in massive cell death within 20% of the ventricular wall, similar to that observed in mammalian infarcts.
The mouse inner ear is a placode-derived sensory organ whose developmental program is elaborated during gestation. We define an in utero gene transfer technique consisting of three steps: mouse ventral laparotomy, transuterine microinjection, and in vivo electroporation. We use digital video microscopy to demonstrate the critical experimental embryological techniques.
1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, 2Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, 3McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
A murine model of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), a safe and inexpensive clinical modality, to the anterior compartment muscles is described. This model has the advantage of modifying a readily available clinical device for the purpose of eliciting targeted and specific muscle contractions in mice.
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.
Culturing neural explants from dissected Xenopus laevis embryos that express fluorescent fusion proteins allows for imaging of growth cone cytoskeletal dynamics.
Microscopic imaging of live endothelial cells expressing GFP-actin allows characterization of dynamic changes in cytoskeletal structures. Unlike techniques that use fixed specimens, this method provides a detailed assessment of temporal changes in the actin cytoskeleton in the same cells before, during, and after various physical, pharmacological, or inflammatory stimuli.
Adhesive micropatterns that normalize cellular architecture can be used to increase sensitivity in the detection of drug effects, improve reproducibility and simplify automated image acquisition and analysis. Such technology will benefit drug/siRNA screening assays, performed on conventional cell culture supports and consequently suffering from excessive cell-to-cell variability.
In this video, we demonstrate how to fabricate and utilize microfabricated post array detectors (mPADs) to assess modulations of cellular contractility.
1Department of Anesthesiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 2Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 3Department of Physiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 4Department of Internal Medicine, Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute, University of Utah
Advances in mass spectrometry have allowed the high throughput analysis of protein expression and modification in a host of tissues. Combined with subcellular fractionation and disease models, quantitative mass spectrometry and bioinformatics can reveal new properties in biological systems. The method described herein analyzes chromatin-associated proteins in the setting of heart disease and is readily applicable to other in vivo models of human disease.
We describe a live whole animal quantitative measurement for permeability of the embryonic zebrafish brain. The technique analyzes the ability to retain cerebrospinal fluid and molecules of different molecular weights within the neural tube lumen and quantifies their movement out of the ventricles. This method is useful for determining differences in epithelial permeability and maturation during development and disease.
By tagging the extracellular domains of membrane receptors with superecliptic pHluorin, and by imaging these fusion receptors in cultured mouse neurons, we can directly visualize individual vesicular insertion events of the receptors to the plasma membrane. This technique will be instrumental in elucidating the molecular mechanisms governing receptor insertion to the plasma membrane.
Whole mount in situ hybridization (WISH) was used in an upper level undergraduate Comparative Vertebrate Biology course in addition to vertebrate dissections. This gave students the opportunity to study gene expression patterns as well as gross anatomy, linking the study of molecular and organismal biology within one course.
This video shall popularize a colloidal Coomassie G-250 staining protocol according to Kang et al. for the detection of average 4 ng protein in gels. The staining is completed within 2 hours and without any effort. We routinely use Kang's protocol for analytical purposes in gel-based proteomics.