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.
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.
Culturing neural explants from dissected Xenopus laevis embryos that express fluorescent fusion proteins allows for imaging of growth cone cytoskeletal dynamics.
Chick in ovo electroporation is a technique which allows genetic manipulation of the avian embryo. Common applications of this technique include functional analysis of genes and putative enhancer elements. This video demonstrates neural tube electroporation in HH 10 chick embryos. Injection technique and proper egg handling are discussed.
Here we develop the tools necessary for ex vivo live imaging to trace single cell divisions in the mouse E8.5 neuroepithelium
The cranial mesenchyme undergoes dramatic morphogenic movements that likely provides a driving force for elevation of the neural folds1,2. Here we describe a simple ex vivo explant assay to characterize the cellular behaviors of the cranial mesenchyme during neurulation. This assay has numerous applications including being amenable to pharmacological manipulations and live imaging analyses.
In this paper we present a method for transplanting human stem cells into various regions of the central nervous system of the chicken embryo. This provides an in vivo model for assessing the proliferation and differentiation of various types of human stem cells in embryonic tissue environments.
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.
A method allowing for direct pharmacological manipulation of mouse embryos during neurulation that bypasses maternal metabolism is described. The technique can be adapted to study different aspects of neurulation by varying the time point and pharmacological agent.
Simultaneous Pre- and Post-synaptic Electrophysiological Recording from Xenopus Nerve-muscle Co-cultures
This video demonstrates the procedures used to grow primary cultures of embryonic Xenopus nerve and muscle cells and the usefulness of this preparation for making simultaneous pre- and post-synaptic patch clamp recordings.
A variety of growth factors and proteins interact to induce cells to take on different cell fates during development. Here we demonstrate the use of an in ovo preparation to address possible interactions between different proteins in development by placing beads on E2.5 chick embryos.
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.
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.
1Molecular Biology of Neural Development, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, 2Division of Experimental Medicine and Program in Neuroengineering, McGill University, 3Program in Neuroengineering, McGill University, 4Montreal Neurological Institute, 5Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, 6Department of Biology, McGill University, 7Department of Medicine, Universite de Montreal - University of Montreal
This video demonstrates a method to dissect and culture commissural neurons from E13 rat dorsal spinal cord. Dissociated commissural neurons are useful to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms of axon growth and guidance.
Deciphering Axonal Pathways of Genetically Defined Groups of Neurons in the Chick Neural Tube Utilizing in ovo Electroporation
This video demonstrates how to visualize axonal pathways of genetically defined groups of neurons in the embryonic chick spinal cord utilizing in ovo electroporation of reporter genes under the control of specific enhancer elements.
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.
This video demonstrates 2-color whole mount in situ hybridization, a method by which the spatial and temporal expression pattern of 2 different genes can be visualized in young chick embryos. This method was originally introduced by David Wilkinson, Domingos Henrique, Phil Ingham and David Ish -Horowicz.
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.
Derivation of neuroepithelial precursors from embryonic stem (ES) cells using stromal cell-derived inducing activity (SDIA).
In ovo Electroporation of miRNA-based Plasmids in the Developing Neural Tube and Assessment of Phenotypes by DiI Injection in Open-book Preparations
A method by which gene expression in the neural tube can be downregulated in a cell type-specific, traceable manner is described. We demonstrate how in ovo electroporation of microRNA-based plasmids that elicit spatiotemporally controlled RNA interference can be used to investigate commissural axon guidance in the developing neural tube.
Here, we present a method for the photoactivated switch of photoconvertible fluorescent proteins (PCFPs) in the living zebrafish embryo and further tracking of photoconverted protein at specific time points during development. This methodology allows monitoring of cell biological events underlying different developmental processes in a live vertebrate organism.
This video demonstrates whole mount immunohistochemistry, a method by which the spatial and temporal expression pattern of an antigen can be visualized in young chick embryos. This method was originally introduced by Jane Dodd and Tom Jessell.
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.
An approach to analyze the migration of explanted cells (trunk neural crest cells) is described. This method is inexpensive, gentle, and capable of distinguishing chemotaxis from both chemokinesis and other influences on migratory polarity such as those derived from cell-cell interactions within the primary trunk neural crest cell culture.
Here are some highlights from the January 2012 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
Directed differentiation of hESCs into specific cells has generated much interest in regenerative medicine. We provide a concise, step-by-step protocol for determining the in vivo fate of selected hESCs that provides a valuable tool for characterizing tissue-specific reagents for cell-based therapy.
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.
We developed a new protocol to improve efficiency of in vitro differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells into motor neurons. The differentiated ES cells acquired motor neurons features as evidenced by expression of neuronal and motor neuron markers using immunohistochemical techniques.
This video shows how morpholino or mRNA can be injected into zebrafish embryos at the one-cell stage to decrease or increase the level of specific gene products during subsequent development.
A Galvanotaxis Assay for Analysis of Neural Precursor Cell Migration Kinetics in an Externally Applied Direct Current Electric Field
In this protocol we demonstrate how to construct custom chambers that permit the application of a direct current electric field to enable time-lapse imaging of adult brain derived neural precursor cell translocation during galvanotaxis.
Isolation of Cerebrospinal Fluid from Rodent Embryos for use with Dissected Cerebral Cortical Explants
1Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, 2Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, Institute for Neuroscience, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, 3Division of Genetics, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, 4Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston Children's Hospital, 5Department of Pathology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School
The ventricular cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) bathes the neuroepithelial and cerebral cortical progenitor cells during early brain development in the embryo. Here we describe the method developed to isolate ventricular CSF from rodent embryos of different ages in order to investigate its biological function. In addition, we demonstrate our cerebral cortical explant dissection and culture technique that allows for explant growth with minimal volumes of culture medium or CSF.
This whole mount in situ hybridization protocol discusses critical steps that ensure reproducible high quality results for gene expression studies in E8.5-E11.5 day old mouse embryos.
1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of Calgary, 2Department of Medical Genetics, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary
In utero electroporation allows for rapid gene delivery in a spatially- and temporally-controlled manner in the developing central nervous system (CNS). Here we describe a highly adaptable in utero electroporation protocol that can be used to deliver expression constructs into multiple embryonic CNS domains, including the telencephalon, diencephalon and retina.
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.
An Optimized Procedure for Fluorescence-activated Cell Sorting (FACS) Isolation of Autonomic Neural Progenitors from Visceral Organs of Fetal Mice
An optimized procedure to purify neural crest-derived neuronal progenitors from fetal mouse tissues is described. This method takes advantage of expression from fluorescent reporter alleles to isolate discrete populations by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The technique can be applied to isolate neuronal subpopulations throughout development or from adult tissues.
This video demonstrates New culture, a method by which chick embryos are cultured outside the egg for up to 24 hr. This method enables one to study early development (primitive streak to 14 som.), a period corresponding to E7-9 in mouse. Applications of this technique include electroporation, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.
After neural tube formation, the neuroepithelium constricts and folds while the tube fills with embryonic cerebrospinal fluid (eCSF) to form the embryonic brain ventricles. We developed this ventricle injection technique to better visualize the fluid filled space in contrast to the neuroepithelial shape in a live embryo.
1Institute for Cell Engineering Neuroregeneration and Stem Cell Programs, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2Departments of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Oncology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
In utero survival surgery in mice permits the molecular manipulation of gene expression during development. Here we describe the use of high-frequency ultrasound imaging to guide the injection of retroviral vectors into the mouse brain at embryonic day (E) 9.5.
An alternative way of isolating mouse embryonic motoneurons from the spinal cord is described. The method takes into account the fact that lectin can bind to the low affinity nerve growth factor receptor p75NTR. This lectin-based preplating allows a purification similar to that with a specific antibody against the p75NTR.
A step-by-step guide to generating targeted chimeric zebrafish embryos by transplantation at the blastula or gastrula stage.
Alginate Microcapsule as a 3D Platform for Propagation and Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESC) to Different Lineages
1Stem Cell Lab, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, The University of New South Wales, 2Siriraj Center of Excellence for Stem cell Research, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, 3Neuropsychiatric Institute, Prince of Wales Hospital
We have optimized a microencapsulation technique as an effective 3D platform for propagation and differentiation of embryonic stem cells to endoderm and dopaminergic (DA) neurons. It also provides an opportunity for immune-isolation of cells from the host during transplantation. This platform can be adapted for other cell types.
1Laboratory of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, 2Laboratory of Neurophysiology, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Primary, human fetal brain-derived, multipotential progenitor cells proliferate in vitro while maintaining the capacity to differentiate into neurons and astrocytes. This work shows that neural progenitors can be induced to differentiate through stages of the oligodendrocytic lineage by conditioning with select growth factors.
Dissociating cells from specific tissue types requires specific parameters for tissue aggitation to obtain a high volume of viable, culturable cells. The Miltenyi gentleMACS Dissociator optimizes this task with a simple, practical protocol. In this publication the use of this apparatus on nerual tissue is explained.
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.
Neural induction is the first step in the formation of the brain. It is a mechanism by which Hensen's node (organizer), instructs adjacent tissue to adopt a neural fate, i.e. to give rise to the nervous system. This video demonstrates an assay for neural induction in chick embryo.
1Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 3Department of Pathology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 4Department of Pathology, Division of Neuropathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital
A simple and reliable method on isolation and culture of neural stem cells from discarded human fetal cortical tissue is described. Cultures derived from known human neurological disorders can be used for characterization of pathological cellular and molecular processes, as well as provide a platform to assess pharmacological efficacy.
A formal demonstration of the dissection of a mouse eye, resulting in a whole mount of the retinal pigment epithelium.
Astrocytes have been recognized to be versatile cells participating in fundamental biological processes that are essential for normal brain development and function, and central nervous system repair. Here we present a rapid procedure to obtain pure mouse astrocyte cultures to study the biology of this major class of central nervous system cells.
1Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Irvine (UCI), 2Stem Cell Research Center, University of California, Irvine (UCI), 3Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, University of California, Irvine (UCI)
In this video we demonstrate the technique of soft lithography with polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) which we use to farbricate a microfluidic device for culturing neurons.
Design and Assembly of an Ultra-light Motorized Microdrive for Chronic Neural Recordings in Small Animals
The design, fabrication and assembly of an ultra-light motorized microdrive is described. The device provides a cost-effective and easy-to-use solution for chronic recordings of single units in small behaving animals.