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.
Culturing neural explants from dissected Xenopus laevis embryos that express fluorescent fusion proteins allows for imaging of growth cone cytoskeletal dynamics.
The Drosophila egg chamber is an excellent model for studying the mechanisms of mRNA localization. In order to capture the dynamic events that underpin the processes of localization, rapid high resolution imaging of live tissue is required. Here, we present a protocol for dissection and imaging of live samples with minimal disruption.
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.
Here we describe an assay that employs the power of microinjection coupled with fluorescent in situ hybridization in order to accurately measure the nuclear export kinetics of mRNA in mammalian somatic cells.
For development of RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapies, a novel strategy was developed, transkingdom RNAi (tkRNAi). This technology uses non-pathogenic bacteria to produce and deliver therapeutic short hairpin RNA (shRNA) into target cells. Here, tkRNAi was successfully applied for reversal of classical ABCB1-mediated multidrug resistance (MDR) of cancer cells.
Microinjection is a well-established and effective method for introducing foreign substances into fertilized zebrafish embryos. Here, we demonstrate a robust microinjection technique for performing mRNA overexpression, and morpholino oligonucleotide gene knockdown studies in zebrafish.
Visualization of in vivo RNA transport is accomplished by microinjection of fluorescently labeled RNA transcripts into Xenopus oocytes, followed by confocal microscopy.
In utero Electroporation followed by Primary Neuronal Culture for Studying Gene Function in Subset of Cortical Neurons
In utero electroporation is a valuable method for transfecting neuronal progenitor cells in vivo. Depending upon the placement of the electrodes and the developmental timepoint of electroporation, certain subsets of cortical cells can be targeted. Targeted cells can then be analyzed in vivo or in vitro for effects of genetic alteration.
We demonstrate our approach to finding potential enhancer elements from developmentally regulated genes and evaluating their function through mosaic zebrafish transgenesis.
Animal caps overexpressing gene product(s) are transplanted to the flank of developing Xenopus laevis embryos in order to establish whether tissue is determined.
Lyme disease research studies often require generation of ticks infected with the pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi, a process that typically takes several weeks. Here we demonstrate a microinjection-based tick infection procedure that can be accomplished within hours. We also demonstrate an immunofluorescence method for in situ localization of B. burgdorferi within ticks.
This method describes high yield in vitro synthesis of both capped and uncapped mRNA from a linearized plasmid containing the Gaussia luciferase (GLuc) gene. The RNA is purified and a fraction of the uncapped RNA is enzymatically capped using the Vaccinia virus capping enzyme. In the final step, the mRNA is transfected into HeLa cells and cell culture supernatants are assayed for luciferase activity.
Xenopus embryonic ectoderm has become an attractive model for studies of cell polarity. An assay is described, in which subcellular distribution of fluorescent proteins is assessed in ectoderm cells. This protocol will help address questions related to spatial control of signaling.
The overall goal of this video is to show how to perform targeted retinal injection and in ovo electroporation of DNA/RNA constructs into the chick embryonic retina at the Hamburger and Hamilton stage 22-23, which is about embryonic day 4 (E4). This technique is very useful to study gene expression, gene regulation, and morphological change in developing chick retina.
Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in the world. Solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the main risk factor for cataract development. An animal model of far UVR-B induced cataract was developed. In this article we describe methods for investigation of cataract formation: exposure to UVR, quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry.
RNAi Mediated Gene Knockdown and Transgenesis by Microinjection in the Necromenic Nematode Pristionchus pacificus
In model organisms, transgenesis can manipulate gene functions while RNAi can knockdown specific mRNA transcripts 1-2. This protocol aims to illustrate the techniques needed to introduce stably transmitted DNA and transient double stranded RNA into the necromenic nematode Pristionchus pacificus for studies in evolutionary, developmental, and behavioral biology.
In order to understand the molecular mechanisms of the ethanol-induced developmental damage, we have developed a zebrafish model of ethanol exposure and are exploring the physical, cellular, and genetic alterations that occur after ethanol exposure1. We then seek to find potential interventions and rapidly test them in this animal model.
A method for isolating specific cell types from plant material is demonstrated. This technique employs transgenic marker lines expressing fluorescent proteins in particular cell types, cellular dissociation and Fluorescence Activated Cell Sorting. Additionally, a growth setup is established here that facilitates treatment of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings prior to cell sorting.
This protocol describes a non-viral method of delivery of genetic constructs to a certain area of living rodent brain. The method consists of plasmid preparation, micropipette fabrication, neonatal rat pup surgery, microinjection of the construct, and in vivo electroporation.
Delivery of Therapeutic Agents Through Intracerebroventricular (ICV) and Intravenous (IV) Injection in Mice
1Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri, 2Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, 3Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri
This article demonstrates two very different methods of injection: 1) into the brain (intracerebroventricular) and 2) systemic (intravenous) to introduce the therapeutic agents into the central nervous system of neonatal mice.
A Model of Disturbed Flow-Induced Atherosclerosis in Mouse Carotid Artery by Partial Ligation and a Simple Method of RNA Isolation from Carotid Endothelium
1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emory University, 2Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Tech and Emory University, 3Department of Bioinspired Science, Ewha Womans University
This describes a partial carotid ligation surgery, which causes disturbed flow conditions and subsequent atherosclerosis development (in two weeks) with intraplaque neo-vascularization (in four weeks) in the mouse common carotid artery. We also describe a novel method of RNA isolation from the carotid intima, providing high purity endothelial RNA.
An integrated microfluidic thermoplastic chip has been developed for use as a molecular diagnostic. The chip performs nucleic acid extraction, reverse transcriptase, and PCR. Methods for fabricating and running the chip are described.
1Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 2The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 3Internal Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
A useful tool to analyze the effects of drugs, growth factors, and/or manipulated cells in an animal model of wound repair is described. This technique utilizes the properties of a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) sponge to deliver and contain the desired treatment and also provide a platform to be excised and analyzed.
1Département Nociception et Douleur, Institut des Neurosciences Cellulaires et Intégratives, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 2Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology, Columbia University, 3Department of Anesthesiology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
Viral vectors allow for targeted gene manipulation. We demonstrate a method for conditional gene expression or ablation in the mouse spinal cord, using stereotaxic injection of a viral vector into the dorsal horn, a prominent site of synaptic contact between primary somatosensory afferents and neurons of the central nervous system.
Department of Neurology, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
We describe a method to target drugs to the central nervous system by either implanting a catheter or performing a bolus injection into the right lateral ventricle in mice. We focus specifically on the delivery of antisense oligonucleotides. This technique is readily adaptable to other drugs and to rats.
A method for RNA interference (RNAi) by injection of dsRNA into unfed ticks is described. RNAi is the most widely used gene-silencing technique in ticks where the use of other methods of genetic manipulation has been limited.
RNA interference has been proven very effective to analyze gene function in Drosophila tracheal development. A detailed protocol used by Jiang lab to inject dsRNA into fly embryos to knockdown gene expression is illustrated. This technique has the potential for screening genes required for tissue and organ development in Drosophila.
Studying Mitotic Checkpoint by Illustrating Dynamic Kinetochore Protein Behavior and Chromosome Motion in Living Drosophila Syncytial Embryos
The kinetochore is where the SAC initiates its signal monitoring the mitotic segregation of the sister chromatids. A method is described to visualize the recruitment and turnover of one of the kinetochore proteins and its coordination with the chromosome motion in Drosophila embryos using a Leica laser scanning confocal system.
1Institute of Virology, University of Cologne, 2Max Planck Institute for Informatics, 3Institute for Immune genetics, 4Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectiology, University of Duesseldorf, 5Department of Dermatology, University of Essen, 6Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cologne, 7Augustinerinnen Hospital
The prediction of the coreceptor usage of HIV-1 is required for the administration of a new class of antiretroviral drugs, i.e. coreceptor antagonists. It can be performed by sequence analysis of the env gene and subsequent interpretation through an internet based interpretation system (geno2pheno[coreceptor]).
Establishing an orthotopic bladder tumor model to evaluate antitumor effects of intravesically delivered saRNA and monitoring tumor growth by ultrasound and bioluminescent imaging.
The method described here utilizes direct injection of entomopathogenic bacteria into the hemocoel of Manduca sexta insect larvae. M. sexta is a commercially available and well-studied insect. Thus, this method represents a simple approach to analyzing host-bacterial interactions from the perspective of one or both partners.
Neo-Islet Formation in Liver of Diabetic Mice by Helper-dependent Adenoviral Vector-Mediated Gene Transfer
1Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, 2Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Diabetes & Endocrinology Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, 3Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine
We describe hepatic neo-islet formation in STZ (streptozotocin)-induced diabetic mice by gene transfer of Neurogenin3 (Ngn3) and Betacellulin (Btc) using helper-dependent adenoviral vector (HDAd) and the reversal of hyperglycemia. Our method takes advantages of helper-dependent adenoviral vectors with their highly efficient in vivo transduction and the long lasting gene expression.
We describe a protocol to identify key roles of host signaling molecules in lytic replication of a model herpesvirus, gamma herpesvirus 68 (γHV68). Utilizing genetically modified mouse strains and embryonic fibroblasts for γHV68 lytic replication, the protocol permits both phenotypic characterization and molecular interrogation of virus-host interactions in viral lytic replication.
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.
A rapid method to obtain infiltrating leukocytes from the murine brain is described. This method utilizes a continuous Percoll gradient and discontinuous Ficoll gradient to select and purify the leukocyte-enriched layer. Isolated leukocytes may then be characterized by flow cytometric measurements.
Measuring Cation Transport by Na,K- and H,K-ATPase in Xenopus Oocytes by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry: An Alternative to Radioisotope Assays
We describe a method to quantify the activity of K+-countertransporting P-type ATPases by heterologous expression of the enzymes in Xenopus oocytes and measuring Rb+ or Li+ uptake into individual cells by atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The method is a sensitive and safe alternative to radioisotope flux experiments facilitating complex kinetic studies.
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.
A description of the surgical induction of endometriosis in mice and rats by auto-transplantation of uterine tissue to the arterial cascade of the intestinal mesentery.
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.
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.
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.
Reverse genetic approaches have proven extremely useful for determining which genes underly resistance to vector pathogens in mosquitoes. This video protocol illustrates a method used by the Dimopoulos lab to inject dsRNA into Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, which harbor the malaria parasite. The technique manipulating the injection setup and injecting dsRNA into the thorax is illustrated.
Expansion of Embryonic and Adult Neural Stem Cells by In Utero Electroporation or Viral Stereotaxic Injection
Controlling the expansion of somatic stem cells is a major factor hampering their study and use in therapy. Here we describe a system to temporally control neural stem cells expansion during development and adulthood, which can be used to increase the number of neurons generated in the mouse brain.
A method of tracing synaptically connected neurons is described. We use TVA specificity of an upstream cell to probe whether a cell population of interest receives synaptic input from genetically defined cell types.
1School of Medical Sciences, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of Aberdeen, 2Translational Neuroscience Facility and Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, 3Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAVs) vectors are becoming increasingly valuable for in vivo studies in animals. We describe how rAAVs can be produced in the laboratory and how these vectors can be titered to give an accurate reading of the number of infectious particles produced.
Intraductal Injection of LPS as a Mouse Model of Mastitis: Signaling Visualized via an NF-κB Reporter Transgenic
1Cancer Biology Department, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy
Described here is a technique in which lipopolysaccharide is injected into the lactating mouse mammary gland via the nipple to simulate mastitis, a condition commonly caused by bacterial infection. Lipopolysaccharide injection results in increased nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling, visualized through bioluminescent imaging of an NF-κB luciferase reporter mouse.
Profiling Voltage-gated Potassium Channel mRNA Expression in Nigral Neurons using Single-cell RT-PCR Techniques
Neurons are first characterized electrophysiologically. Then the cytoplasm from the recorded neuron is aspirated and subjected to reverse transcription-PCR analysis to detect the expression of mRNAs for neurotransmitter synthesis enzymes, ion channels, and receptors.
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.
Examining the Conformational Dynamics of Membrane Proteins in situ with Site-directed Fluorescence Labeling
We will describe a method which measures the kinetics of ion transport of membrane proteins alongside site-specific analysis of conformational changes using fluorescence on single cells. This technique is adaptable to ion channels, transporters and ion pumps and can be utilized to determine distance constraints between protein subunits.