Pharmacological and Functional Genetic Assays to Manipulate Regeneration of the Planarian Dugesia japonica
An attractive model for studying stem cell differentiation within a live animal is the planarian flatworm. Regeneration is studied by simple amputation experiments that are easily performed in a basic laboratory and are amenable to pharmacological and genetic (in vivo RNAi) manipulation as detailed by protocols in this article.
Using RNA-mediated Interference Feeding Strategy to Screen for Genes Involved in Body Size Regulation in the Nematode C. elegans
1Department of Science, Borough of Manhattan Community College, City Universtiy of New York (CUNY), 2Department of Biology, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY), 3Biochemistry Program, The Graduate Center, Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY)
We demonstrate how to use the RNAi feeding technique to knock down target genes and score body size phenotype in C. elegans. This method could be used for a large scale screen to identify potential genetic components of interest, such as those involved in body size regulation by DBL-1/TGF-β signaling.
We describe a sensitized method to identify postembryonic regulators of protein expression and localization in C. elegans using an RNAi-based genomic screen and an integrated transgene that expresses a functional, fluorescently tagged protein.
We describe a protocol using C. elegans and RNAi feeding libraries that allows automated measurement of multiple parameters such as fluorescence, size and opacity of individual worms in a population. We give one example of a screen to identify genes involved in anti-fungal innate immunity in C. elegans.
1Center for Human Genetic Research and Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 2Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We present robust biochemical and microscopic methods for studying Caenorhabditis elegans lipid stores. A rapid, simple, fixing-staining procedure for fluorescent lipid droplet imaging leverages the spectral properties of the lipophilic dye Nile red. We then present biochemical measurement of triglycerides and phospholipids using solid phase extraction and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.
The model organism C. elegans uses pseudocoelomic fluid as a passive circulatory system. Direct assay of this fluid has not been previously possible. Here we present a novel technique to directly assay the extracellular space, and use systemic silencing signals during an RNAi response as a proof of principle example.
Osmotic Avoidance in Caenorhabditis elegans: Synaptic Function of Two Genes, Orthologues of Human NRXN1 and NLGN1, as Candidates for Autism
Neurexins and neuroligins are membrane-neuron adhesion proteins which perform essential roles in synaptic differentiation and transmission. Neuroligin deficient mutants of C. elegans are defective in detecting osmotic strength, but when they also contain a mutation in the gene coding neurexin, they recover the wild type phenotype.
Novel host factors involved in viral infection can be identified through cell-based genome-wide loss of function RNAi screening. A Drosophila cell culture model is particularly amenable to this approach due to the ease and efficiency of RNAi. Here we demonstrate this technique using vaccinia virus as an example.
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.
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.
Here we use a human esiRNA library in a high-throughput screen for genes involved in cell division. We demonstrate how to set up and conduct an esiRNA screens, as well as how to analyze and validate the results.
Drosophila Schneider (S2) cells are an increasingly popular system for the discovery and functional analysis of genes. Our goal is to describe some of the microscopic techniques that make S2 cells such an increasingly important experimental system.
In this protocol we combine RNAi-mediated gene silencing with an in vivo diuresis assay to study the effects knockdown of genes of interest has on mosquito fluid excretion.
We provide a detailed protocol for preparing primary cells dissociated from Drosophila embryos. The ability to carry out the effective RNAi perturbation, together with other molecular, biochemical and cell imaging methods will allow a variety of questions to be addressed in Drosophila primary cells.
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.
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 this article we present a general protocol for measuring life span of nematodes maintained on solid media with UV-killed bacterial food.
Description of a virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) method for knock-down of gene expression in Nicotiana benthamiana and tomato.
1Department of Cancer Biology and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, 2Department of Pathology and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Wake Forest University School of Medicine
RNA interference (RNAi) possesses many advantages over gene knockout and has been broadly used as a tool in gene functional studies. The invention of DNA vector-based RNAi technology has made long term and inducible gene knockdown possible, and also increased the feasibility of gene silencing in vivo.
Here we use a human LentiPlex pooled library and traditional sequencing methods to identify gene targets promoting cell survival. We demonstrate how to set up and deconvolute a LentiPlex screen and validate the results.
Oct4GiP Reporter Assay to Study Genes that Regulate Mouse Embryonic Stem Cell Maintenance and Self-renewal
We describe a fluorescence reporter assay to quickly identify and characterize genes that regulate mouse embryonic stem cell maintenance and self-renewal.
Targeting Olfactory Bulb Neurons Using Combined In Vivo Electroporation and Gal4-Based Enhancer Trap Zebrafish Lines
1Department of Biology, Pace University, 2Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 3Division of Cell Biology and Cell Physiology, Zoological Institute, Braunschweig University of Technology
The temporal and spatial resolution of genetic manipulations determines the spectrum of biological phenomena that they can perturb. Here we use temporally and spatially discrete in vivo electroporation, combined with transgenic lines of zebrafish, to induce expression of a GFP transgene specifically in neurons of the developing olfactory bulb.
Here we describe methods to test C. elegans associative learning and short- and long-term associative memory. These population assays employ the worms abilities to chemotax toward volatile odorants, and form positive associations upon pairing food with the chemoattractant butanone. Increasing the number of conditioning periods induces long-term memory.
To make lentiviruses, DNA vectors are transfected into human 293 cells. After harvest and concentrating the supernatant, virus titer is determined by fluorescence expression with a flow cytometer.
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).
Identifying the Effects of BRCA1 Mutations on Homologous Recombination using Cells that Express Endogenous Wild-type BRCA1
We provide a method for testing BRCA1 variants in a tissue culture based assay for homologous recombination repair of DNA damage by depleting endogenous BRCA1 protein from a cell using RNAi and replacing it with a BRCA1 point mutant that contains a coding change.
A method of gene transfer into chicken embryos at later incubation stages (older than Hamburger and Hamilton stage (HH) 22) is described. This method overcomes disadvantages of in ovo electroporation applied to older chicken embryos and is a useful technique to study gene function and regulation at older developmental stages.
We describe a methodology combining automated cell culturing with high-content imaging to visualize and quantify multiple cellular processes and structures, in a high-throughput manner. Such methods can aid in the further functional annotation of genomes as well as identify disease gene networks and potential drug targets.
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.
This video shows a procedure for isolating intact protoplasts from tissues of 14-day-old seedlings of Arabidopsis. Given that the isolated protoplasts remain intact for at least 96h and are isolated from seedlings instead of one-month-old mature plants, this procedure expedites assays requiring intact protoplasts.
Laser Microdissection Applied to Gene Expression Profiling of Subset of Cells from the Drosophila Wing Disc
Laser microdissection was applied to analyse gene expression profiling in specific compartments of Drosophila wing disc subjected to localised RNAi in vivo. RNA extracted from equivalent areas of silenced and unsilenced compartments was analysed by quantitative RT-PCR to determine comparative gene expression profiling within the context of native tissue microecology.
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 describe a basic protocol to image and quantify the mitotic timing of live mammalian tissue culture cells after siRNA transfection.
In this video-article we present a method for isolating single or multiple Drosophila da neurons from third instar larvae using the infrared capture (IR) class of Laser Capture Microdissection (LCM). RNA obtained from the isolated neurons can be readily used for downstream applications including qRT-PCR or microarray analyses.
Methods for using alphavirus transducing systems to express fluorescent reporters in vitro and in adult mosquitoes are described. This technique may be adapted to express any protein of interest in lieu of or in addition to a reporter.
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 protocol for preparation of robust, small-scale HeLa nuclear extracts is described. This protocol is valuable for assays that require use of small populations of cells, such as cells treated with drugs or RNAi. The method should be applicable to a wide variety of gene expression assays and other cell types, including patient cells.
The C. elegans embryo is a powerful system for studying cell biology and development. We present a protocol for live imaging of C. elegans embryos utilizing DIC optics or fluorescence using readily available epifluorescent microscopes and open-source software.
1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 2Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 3Shared Resource-DNA/RNA Peptide, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Several 2’-Fluoro RNA aptamers against HIV-1Ba-L gp120 with nanomole affinity are isolated from a RNA library by in vitro SELEX procedure. A new dual inhibitory function anti-gp120 aptamer-siRNA chimera is created and shows considerable promise for systemic anti-HIV therapy.
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.
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.
In this video, we show a procedure for an accurate biolistic delivery of reagents into live tissue with a novel miniature gene gun. We are knocking down the expression of the axon guidance molecule Netrin in leech embryos by delivering molecules of dsRNA into the ventral body wall and ganglia of single segments.
Here are some highlights from the August 2011 Issue of Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE).
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.
Application of a C. elegans Dopamine Neuron Degeneration Assay for the Validation of Potential Parkinson's Disease Genes
This video demonstrates how to use C. elegans to assess dopaminergic neuron neurodegeneration as a model for Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, genetic screens are used to identify factors that either enhance degeneration or are neuroprotective.
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.
Monitoring Dynamic Changes In Mitochondrial Calcium Levels During Apoptosis Using A Genetically Encoded Calcium Sensor
This protocol describes a method for real-time measurement of mitochondrial calcium fluxes by fluorescent imaging. The method takes advantage of a circularly permutated YFP-based dual-excitation ratiometric calcium sensor (ratiometric pericam-mt) selectively expressed in mitochondria.
Monitoring Cell-autonomous Circadian Clock Rhythms of Gene Expression Using Luciferase Bioluminescence Reporters
Circadian clocks function within individual cells, i.e., they are cell-autonomous. Here, we describe methods for generating cell-autonomous clock models using non-invasive, luciferase-based real-time bioluminescence technology. Reporter cells provide tractable, functional model systems for studying circadian biology.
A simple and efficient method to transform Physcomitrella pantens protoplasts is described. This method is adapted from protocols for Physocmitrella protonemal protoplast and Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplast transformation1.
Adult cardiac myocytes are primary cells that can be isolated from animal hearts and cultured for several days. Within this culture period adenoviral gene transfer can be used to express genetically encoded biosensors (GEBs) or fluorescent fusion proteins. Both approaches allow cellular investigations by means of confocal microscopy.