1Division of Developmental Neuroscience, United Centers for Advanced Research and Translational Medicine (ART), Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, 2The Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology (CREST), Japan Science and Technology Corporation (JST)
Whole embryo culture technique allows us to culture mouse and rat embryos ex vivo condition during limited periods corresponding to midgestation stages. In this video protocol, we demonstrate our standard procedures of rat whole embryo culture after E12.5 using the rotator-type bottle culture system.
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.
Here we develop the tools necessary for ex vivo live imaging to trace single cell divisions in the mouse E8.5 neuroepithelium
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.
Craniofacial cartilages develop in close contact with other tissues and are difficult to manipulate in live animals. We are using electroporation to deliver molecular tools during growth of the craniofacial skeleton while bypassing early embryonic effects. This approach will allow us to efficiently test candidate molecules in vivo.
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.
Ex utero Electroporation and Whole Hemisphere Explants: A Simple Experimental Method for Studies of Early Cortical Development
This protocol describes an improved explant procedure that involves ex utero electroporation, dissection and culture of entire cerebral hemispheres from the embryonic mouse. The preparation facilitates pharmacological studies and assays of gene function during early cortical development.
Slice cultures facilitate the manipulation of embryo development by gene and pharmacological perturbations. However, culture conditions must ensure that normal development can proceed within the reduced environment of the slice. We illustrate a protocol that facilitates normal spinal cord development to proceed for at least 24 hr.
RNA In situ Hybridization in Whole Mount Embryos and Cell Histology Adapted for Marine Elasmobranchs
By combining methods for RNA whole mount in situ hybridization and histology, gene expression can be linked with cell fate decisions in the developing embryo. These methods have been adapted to marine elasmobranchs and facilitate the use of these animals as model organisms for biomedical, toxicology and comparative studies.
A Practical Approach to Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping: A Visual Guide to Mark and Track Cells In Vivo
Genetic Inducible Fate Mapping (GIFM) marks and tracks cells with fine spatial and temporal control in vivo and elucidates how cells from a specific genetic lineage contribute to developing and adult tissues. Demonstrated here are the techniques required to fate map E12.5 mouse embryos for epifluorescent and explant analysis.
Organotypic Slice Culture of GFP-expressing Mouse Embryos for Real-time Imaging of Peripheral Nerve Outgrowth
We present a method to prepare organotypic slices of mid-gestation mouse embryos for the cultivation and time-lapse imaging of peripheral nerve outgrowth.
Here, we describe a method for isolation, culture and manipulation of mouse embryonic pancreas. This represents an excellent ex vivo system for studying various aspects of pancreatic development, including morphogenesis, differentiation and growth. Pancreatic bud explants can be cultured for several days and used in a range of different applications, including whole-mount immunofluorescence and live imaging.
This technique exposes the Drosophila embryonic neuromusculature for immunohistochemistry or electrophysiological recording. It is useful for studying early events in neuromuscular development or performing electrophysiology in mutants that cannot hatch.
Electrophysiological recordings from Drosophila embryos allow analyses of developing muscle and neuron electrical properties, as well as characterization of functional synaptogenesis at the glutamatergic neuromuscular junction and central cholinergic and GABAergic synapses.
Early embryonic lung organ culture is a very useful system to study epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. Both epithelial and mesenchymal morphogenesis proceeds under specific conditions that can be readily manipulated in this system.
Culturing neural explants from dissected Xenopus laevis embryos that express fluorescent fusion proteins allows for imaging of growth cone cytoskeletal dynamics.
Cultured muscle cells are an inadequate model to recapitulate innervated muscle in vivo. A functional motor unit can be reproduced in vitro by innervation of differentiated human primary muscle cells using rat embryo spinal cord explants. This article describes how co-cultures of spinal cord explants and muscle cells are established.
This article describes an approach to microdissect zebrafish retinas with and without retinal pigment epithelium attached, from one to three days postfertilization embryos.
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.
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.
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.
Use of LysoTracker to Detect Programmed Cell Death in Embryos and Differentiating Embryonic Stem Cells
We present a simple protocol to visualize regions of programmed cell death (PCD) in mouse embryos and differentiating embryonic stem (ES) cell cultures using a highly soluble dye called LysoTracker.
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.
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.
A High Throughput in situ Hybridization Method to Characterize mRNA Expression Patterns in the Fetal Mouse Lower Urogenital Tract
Here, we describe an efficient high throughput in situ hybridization (ISH) method for visualizing patterns of mRNA expression in developing fetal mouse prostate tissue sections. The method can be easily adapted to visualize mRNA expression patterns in other mouse tissues or in tissues from other species.
We have identified the placenta as a major hematopoietic organ during development. We found that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are both generated and expanded in the placenta in unique microenvironmental niches. Here, we describe experimental techniques required for isolation and visualization of HSCs in the mouse placenta.
Described here is an in vivo technique to image sub-cellular structures in animals exposed to anoxia using a gas flow through microincubation chamber in conjunction with a spinning disc confocal microscope. This method is straightforward and flexible enough to suit a variety of experimental parameters and model systems.
We describe a rapid methodology to isolate and culture hippocampal and cortical neurons from rodent embryos. This protocol allows us to perform experiments in which nearly pure neuronal cultures are required.
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.
A technique to genetically manipulate epithelial cells within whole ex vivo cultured embryonic mouse submandibular glands (SMGs) using viral gene transfer is described. This method takes advantage of the innate ability of SMG epithelium and mesenchyme to spontaneously recombine after separation and infection of epithelial rudiments with adenoviral vectors.
Transnuclear Mice with Pre-defined T Cell Receptor Specificities Against Toxoplasma gondii Obtained Via SCNT
We demonstrate here that epigenetic reprogramming via Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) can be used as a tool to generate mouse models with pre-defined T cell receptor (TCR) specificities. These transnuclear mice express the corresponding TCR from their endogenous locus under the control of the endogenous promoter.
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.
Organotypic Slice Cultures of Embryonic Ventral Midbrain: A System to Study Dopaminergic Neuronal Development in vitro
A method to generate organotypic slices from the E12.5 murine embryonic midbrain is described. The organotypic slice cultures can be used to observe the behavior of dopaminergic neurons or other ventral midbrain neurons.
We provide a protocol for the culture of highly purified hippocampal neurons from prenatal mouse brains without the use of a feeder glial cell layer.
Isolation and culture of myofibers is the gold standard in vitro system to study the transition of satellite cells through quiescence, activation and differentiation. Importantly, the single myofiber culture system preserves the myofiber/stem cell association, which is an essential component of the muscle stem cell niche.
Protocols for germ cell transplantation and testis tissue xenografting are described. Germ cell transplantation results in donor-derived spermatogenesis in recipient testes and represents a functional reconstitution assay for identification of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). Testis tissue xenografting reproduces testis development and spermatogenesis of various donor species in recipient mice.
A simple microfluidic device has been developed to perform anesthetic free in vivo imaging of C. elegans, intact Drosophila larvae and zebrafish larvae. The device utilizes a deformable PDMS membrane to immobilize these model organisms in order to perform time lapse imaging of numerous processes such as heart beat, cell division and sub-cellular neuronal transport. We demonstrate the use of this device and show examples of different types of data collected from different model systems.
Intraoperative Detection of Subtle Endometriosis: A Novel Paradigm for Detection and Treatment of Pelvic Pain Associated with the Loss of Peritoneal Integrity
1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Greenville Hospital System, 2Department of Pathology, Duke University Health System, 3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Duke University
Loss of peritoneal integrity provides a new paradigm to understand and treat chronic pelvic pain in women with mild forms of endometriosis and can be easily detected using intraoperative instillation of dye at the time of laparoscopy.
We present a method to collect cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and to create a system which lacks CSF within the embryonic zebrafish brain ventricular system. This allows for further examination of CSF composition and its requirement during embryonic brain development.
Time-lapse Live Imaging of Clonally Related Neural Progenitor Cells in the Developing Zebrafish Forebrain
The present video demonstrates a method which takes advantage of the combination of electroporation and confocal microscopy to perform live imaging on individual neural progenitor cells in the developing zebrafish forebrain. In vivo analysis of the development of forebrain neural progenitor cells at a clonal level can be achieved in this way.
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.
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.
A protocol for separation of embryo facial ectoderm and mesenchyme is described. We use Dispase II to treat whole embryos first, dissect whole facial prominences out, and then separate the facial ectoderm and mesenchyme.
We describe the procedure to prepare staged Drosophila embryos for the visualization of the embryonic nervous system during embryogenesis.
This article describes a method for labeling embryonic skin and thymus blood vessels.
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.
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.
The fate of an individual embryonic cell can be influenced by inherited molecules and/or by signals from neighboring cells. Utilizing fate maps of the cleavage stage Xenopus embryo, single blastomeres can be identified for culture in isolation to assess the contributions of inherited molecules versus cell-cell interactions.
Here we describe a whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) protocol for determining the expression and localization properties of RNAs expressed during embryogenesis in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.
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.