Whole Mount Immunohistochemistry in Zebrafish Embryos and Larvae

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Immunohistochemistry is a widely used technique to explore protein expression and localization during both normal developmental and disease states. Although many immunohistochemistry protocols have been optimized for mammalian tissue and tissue sections, these protocols often require modification and optimization for non-mammalian model organisms. Zebrafish are increasingly used as a model system in basic, biomedical, and translational research to investigate the molecular, genetic, and cell biological mechanisms of developmental processes. Zebrafish offer many advantages as a model system but also require modified techniques for optimal protein detection. Here, we provide our protocol for whole-mount fluorescence immunohistochemistry in zebrafish embryos and larvae. This protocol additionally describes several different mounting strategies that can be employed and an overview of the advantages and disadvantages each strategy provides. We also describe modifications to this protocol to allow detection of chromogenic substrates in whole mount tissue and fluorescence detection in sectioned larval tissue. This protocol is broadly applicable to the study of many developmental stages and embryonic structures.