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.
We demonstrate FRET between conjugated polymer polydiacetylene (PDA) and fluorophore attached to the surface of PDA liposomes for the sensing of biomolecules. PDA liposomes also contained receptor molecules on their surfaces for biomolecules to be used as probes. Ligand-receptor interactions lead to changes in the FRET efficiency between the fluorophore and PDA which is the basis of the sensing mechanism.
In this protocol, we describe the direct cytoplasmic microinjection of cytochrome c protein into fibroblasts and primary sympathetic neurons. This technique allows for the introduction of cytochrome c protein into the cytoplasm of cells and mimics the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, which occurs during apoptosis.
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.
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.
We present protocols for the 3-dimensional (3D) encapsulation of cells within synthetic hydrogels. The encapsulation procedure is outlined for two commonly used methods of crosslinking (michael-type addition and light-initiated free radical mechanisms), as well as a number of techniques for assessing encapsulated cell behavior.
Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells by Reprogramming Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts with a Four Transcription Factor, Doxycycline Inducible Lentiviral Transduction System
The Stemgent Dox Inducible Mouse TF Lentivirus Set can reprogram mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Here we demonstrate the protocol for DOX-inducible expression of mouse reprogramming transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc to generate iPS colonies that express common mES pluripotency markers.
Cortical blood flow dynamics can be studied in vivo by imaging fluorescent dextran dyes injected into the tail vein of rodents with 2-photon microscopy. This video shows how to image blood flow dynamics in neocortex of mice through a glass-covered cranial window preparation.
Toxoplasma gondii Cyst Wall Formation in Activated Bone Marrow-derived Macrophages and Bradyzoite Conditions
Toxoplasma gondii converts to a cyst form in response to environmental stresses, which can be mimicked in tissue culture models. This video demonstrates techniques to examine cyst wall formation by activating bone marrow-derived macrophages or changing growth medium pH in fibroblast cells.
Cut-loading: A Useful Tool for Examining the Extent of Gap Junction Tracer Coupling Between Retinal Neurons
An easy and convenient method to determine the extent of gap junction tracer coupling between retinal neurons is described. This technique enables one to investigate the function of the electrical synapses between neurons in the intact retina under different illumination conditions and at different times of the day and night.
Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy (CLEM) as a Tool to Visualize Microinjected Molecules and their Eukaryotic Sub-cellular Targets
The CLEM technique has been adapted to analyze ultrastructural morphology of membranes, organelles, and subcellular structures affected by microinjected molecules. This method combines the powerful techniques of micromanipulation/microinjection, confocal fluorescent microscopy, and electron microscopy to allow millimeter to multi-nanometer resolution. This technique is amenable to a wide variety of applications.
Determination of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential and Reactive Oxygen Species in Live Rat Cortical Neurons
We demonstrate application of the fluorescence indicator, TMRM, in cortical neurons to determine the relative changes in TMRM fluorescence intensity before and after application of a specific stimulus. We also show application of the fluorescence probe H2DCF-DA to assess the relative level of reactive oxygen species in cortical neurons.
We demonstrate the assembly and application of a molecular-scale device powered by a topoisomerase protein. The construct is a bio-molecular sensor which labels two major types of DNA breaks in tissue sections by attaching two different fluorophores to their ends.
We present a procedure for forming a poly(ethylene glycol) self-assembled monolayer (PEG-SAM) on a silicon substrate with gold microelectrodes. The PEG-SAM is formed in a single step and prevents biofouling on silicon and gold surfaces. Electrophoresis is then used for patterning biomolecules down to the nanoscale.
Acute kidney injury (AKI) in humans is a common clinical problem caused by damage to the epithelial cells that comprise kidney nephrons, and AKI is associated with high mortality rates of 50-70%1. Following epithelial cell destruction, nephrons have a limited ability to regenerate, though the mechanisms and limitations that guide this phenomenon remain poorly understood. In this video article, we describe our technique for targeted laser ablation of kidney nephron cells in the zebrafish embryo kidney, or pronephros. Our new method can be used to complement nephrotoxicity-induced models of AKI and gain a high-resolution understanding of the cell and molecular alterations that are associated with epithelial regeneration in the kidney nephron.
Host cell factors play a critical role in the establishment and maintenance of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). We outline methods to identify host cell factors altered in KSHV-infected DMVEC cells, and in KS tumor tissue. Cellular genes altered by virus will serve as potential target(s) for novel therapeutics.
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.
Quantitative Measurement of Invadopodia-mediated Extracellular Matrix Proteolysis in Single and Multicellular Contexts
We describe the prototypical method for producing microscope coverslips coated with fluorescent gelatin for visualizing invadopodia-mediated matrix degradation. Computational techniques using available software are presented for quantifying the resultant levels of matrix proteolysis by single cells within a mixed population and for multicellular groups encompassing entire microscopic fields.
A microfluidic islet perifusion device was developed for the assessment of dynamic insulin secretion of multiple islets and simultaneous fluorescence imaging of calcium influx and mitochondrial potential changes.
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.
A minimally invasive protocol to stabilize the mouse spinal column and perform repetitive in vivo spinal cord imaging using two-photon microscopy is described. This method combines a spinal stabilization device and an anesthetic regimen to minimize respiratory-induced movements and produce raw imaging data that require no alignment or other post-processing.
Subcutaneous Administration of Muscarinic Antagonists and Triple-Immunostaining of the Levator Auris Longus Muscle in Mice
1Biology Department, Arcadia University, 2Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center, Temple University School of Medicine, 3Shriners Hospitals Pediatric Research Center and Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Temple University School of Medicine
We describe procedures for repeated administration of inhibitors of muscarinic signaling to the levator auris longus (LAL) muscle of young adult mice and for subsequent immunostaining of its neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) in wholemounts. The LAL muscle has unique advantages for revealing in vivo pharmacological effects on NMJs.
The process of electrospinning polymers for tissue engineering and cell culture is addressed in this article. Specifically, the electrospinning of photoreactive macromers with additional processing capabilities of photopatterning and multi-polymer electrospinning is described.
We have developed novel laboratory tools and protocols for intravital imaging acquisition of the thymus. Our technique should help in the identification of “niches” within the thymus where T cell development occurs.
Quantifying Glomerular Permeability of Fluorescent Macromolecules Using 2-Photon Microscopy in Munich Wistar Rats
A technique utilizing high resolution intavital 2-photon microscopy to directly visualize and quantify gloemrular filtration in surface glomeruli. This method allows for direct determination of permeability characteristics of macromolecules in both normal and diseased states.
Parasitoid (parasitic) wasps constitute a major class of natural enemies of many insects including Drosophila melanogaster. We will introduce the techniques to propagate these parasites in Drosophila spp. and demonstrate how to analyze their effects on immune tissues of Drosophila larvae.
Therapeutic Gene Delivery and Transfection in Human Pancreatic Cancer Cells using Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor-targeted Gelatin Nanoparticles
Type B gelatin-based engineered nanovectors system (GENS) was developed for systemic gene delivery and transfection in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. By modification with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) specific peptide on the surface of nanparticles, they could target on EGFR receptor and release plasmid under reducing environment, such as high intracellular glutathione concentrations.
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.
High efficiency, Site-specific Transfection of Adherent Cells with siRNA Using Microelectrode Arrays (MEA)
The article details the protocol for site-specific transfection of scrambled sequence of siRNA in an adherent mammalian cell culture using a microelectrode array (MEA).
A push-pull method for collecting plant volatiles is described. The method allows for a comparison of volatiles induced by herbivore feeding, exogenous methyl jasmonate, and mechanical damage. This technique is also used to investigate the volatile response of undamaged branches to exposure to volatiles from herbivore-damaged branches within blueberry plants.
Imaging Neuronal Responses in Slice Preparations of Vomeronasal Organ Expressing a Genetically Encoded Calcium Sensor
The vomeronasal organ (VNO) detects intraspecies chemical signals that convey social and reproductive information. We have performed Ca2+ imaging experiments using transgenic mice expressing G-CaMP2 in VNO tissue. This approach allows us to analyze the complicated response patterns of the vomeronasal neurons to large numbers of pheromone stimuli.
Selection, microinjection, and imaging of fluorescently-labeled F-actin via fluorescent speckle microscopy (FSM).
In this video, we demonstrate how to label and visualize single synaptic vesicle exocytosis and trafficking in goldfish retinal bipolar cells using total internal reflectance fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy.
Isotachophoresis (ITP) is a robust electrokinetic separation and preconcentration technique with applications ranging from toxin detection to sample preparation. We review the physical principles of ITP and the methodology of applying this technique to two specific example applications: separation and detection of small molecules and purification of nucleic acids from cell culture lysate.
Real-time Digital Imaging of Leukocyte-endothelial Interaction in Ischemia-reperfusion Injury (IRI) of the Rat Cremaster Muscle
Digital intravital epifluorescence microscopy of postcapillary venules in the cremasteric microcirculation is a convenient method to gain insights into leukocyte-endothelial interaction in vivo in ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) of striated muscle tissue. We here provide a detailed protocol to safely perform the technique and discuss its applications and limitations.
A Simple Protocol for Platelet-mediated Clumping of Plasmodium falciparum-infected Erythrocytes in a Resource Poor Setting
1Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, 2Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, 3Department of Microbiology, Division of Medical Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine
This method investigates the platelet-mediated clumping phenotype of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (pRBC) in clinical isolates. This is performed by isolating and co-incubating platelet-rich plasma and a suspension of pRBC.
An in vivo dissection of the adult Drosophila ventral nerve cord (VNC) is demonstrated. This particular dissection method causes little damage to the VNC allowing the subsequent labeling of the giant fiber neurons with fluorescent dye for high resolution imaging.
This protocol describes the use of microinjection and high resolution imaging in the Drosophila melanogaster syncytial embryo to study mitosis.
Bees can be conditioned in an appetitive olfactory learning paradigm (PER-conditioning). Using odors as stimuli, we established a method in which behavior is recorded while simultaneously Calcium Imaging is used to measure odor evoked activity in mushroom body neurons in vivo.
Cell-mediated lymphocytotoxicity (CML) assays can be used to test autoreactive responses and study mechanisms of cell death in vitro. However, using live-cell confocal microscopic imaging techniques with fluorescent dyes, the type and kinetics of cell death as well as the pathways utilized can be studied in greater detail.
We present the procedure for fabrication and operation of a microfluidic device that recreates heterogeneous tumor microenvironments in vitro. The variability in apoptosis within tumor tissue was quantified using fluorescent stains and the effective diffusion coefficient of the chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin into tumor tissue was evaluated.
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.
A technique is described to quantify the in vivo physiological response of mammalian neurons during movement and correlate the physiology of the neuron with neuronal morphology, neurochemical phenotype and synaptic microcircuitry.
In this video, we demonstrate how to fabricate and utilize microfabricated post array detectors (mPADs) to assess modulations of cellular contractility.
The abundance of neurotransmitter receptors clustered at synapses strongly influences synaptic strength. This method quantifies fluorescently-labeled neurotransmitter receptors in three dimensions with single-synapse resolution in C. elegans, allowing hundreds of synapses to be rapidly characterized within a single sample without distortions introduced by z-plane projection.
We present an in vitro, two-color fluorescence assay to visualize the fusion of single virus particles with a fluid target bilayer. By labeling viral particles with fluorophores that differentially stain the viral membrane and its interior, we are able to monitor the kinetics of hemifusion and pore formation.
A step-by-step guide to generating targeted chimeric zebrafish embryos by transplantation at the blastula or gastrula stage.
Unfixed frozen tissue samples embedded in Optimal Cutting Temperature medium (OCT) can be used to study natural distribution and glycosylation of secreted mucus. In this approach tissue processing is minimal and the natural presentation of glycolipids, mucins and glycan-epitopes is preserved. Tissue sections can be analyzed by immunohistochemistry using fluorescence or chromogenic detection.
1Defence Medical and Environmental Research Institute, DSO National Laboratories, 2Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, 3Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School
Taking advantage of the advancements in fluorophore development and imaging technology, a simple method of Alexa Fluor labeling of dengue virus was devised to visualize the early interactions between virus and cell.
Molecular shuttles consisting of functionalized microtubules gliding on surface-adhered kinesin motor proteins can serve as a nanoscale transport system. Here, the assembly of a typical shuttle system is described.