Cell Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 189 Views Mar 20, 2023

Successful advancement in the treatment of diabetes mellitus is not possible without well-established methodology for beta cell mass calculation. Here, we offer the protocol to assess beta cell mass during embryonic development in the mouse. The described protocol has detailed steps on how to process extremely small embryonic pancreatic tissue, cut it on the cryostat, and stain tissue slides for microscopic analysis. The method does not require usage of confocal microscopy and takes advantage of enhanced automated image analysis with proprietary as well as open-source software packages.

0 Q&A 469 Views Jan 5, 2023

Skeletal muscle, one of the most abundant tissue in the body, is a highly regenerative tissue. Indeed, compared to other tissues that are not able to regenerate after injury, skeletal muscle can fully regenerate upon mechanically, chemically, and infection-induced trauma. Several injury models have been developed to thoroughly investigate the physiological mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle regeneration. This protocol describes how to induce muscle regeneration by taking advantage of a cardiotoxin (CTX)-induced muscle injury model. The overall steps include CTX injection of tibialis anterior (TA) muscles of BL6N mice, collection of regenerating muscles at different time points after CTX injury, and histological characterization of regenerating muscles. Our protocol, compared with others such as those for freeze-induced injury models, avoids laceration or infections of the muscles since it involves neither surgery nor suture. In addition, our protocol is highly reproducible, since it causes homogenous myonecrosis of the whole muscle, and further reduces animal pain and stress.

Graphical abstract

0 Q&A 2909 Views Nov 20, 2020
Electron cryotomography (cryo-ET) is an increasingly popular technique to study cellular structures and macromolecules in situ. Due to poor penetration of electrons through thick biological samples, the vitreously frozen samples for cryo-ET need to be thin. For frozen-hydrated cells, such samples can be produced either by cryomicrotomy or cryo-FIB-milling. As a result, a tomogram of such a sample contains information of a small fraction of the entire cell volume, making it challenging to image rare structures in the cell or to determine the distribution of scattered structures. Here, we describe the tools and workflow that we designed to facilitate serial cryomicrotomy, which makes possible the exploration of a larger volume of individual cells at molecular resolution. We successfully used serial cryomicrotomy to locate and image the Dam1/DASH complex located at microtubule plus ends inside mitotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells.
0 Q&A 8323 Views Feb 5, 2018
The combination of immunofluorescence and laser scanning confocal microscopy (LSM) is essential to high-resolution detection of molecular distribution in biological specimens. A frequent limitation is the need to image deep inside a tissue or in a specific plane, which may be inaccessible due to tissue size or shape. Recreating high-resolution 3D images is not possible because the point-spread function of light reduces the resolution in the Z-axis about 3-fold, compared to XY, and light scattering obscures signal deep in the tissue. However, the XY plane of interest can be chosen if embedded samples are precisely oriented and sectioned prior to imaging (Figure 1). Here we describe the preparation of frozen tissue sections of the Drosophila wing imaginal disc, which allows us to obtain high-resolution images throughout the depth of this folded epithelium.

Figure 1. The epithelial structure and undistorted folding pattern are revealed in its entire depth in this frozen section of developing Drosophila wing. A-D. Transverse dorsoventral sections through the wing pouch. A. Cryosection reveals nuclei (A, green) and subcellular distribution of α-catenin (A’, A”, magenta) with signal throughout the depth of the epithelium. The basal surface is clearly detectable (arrows). A” is digitally enhanced image of A’. B. A Z-stack of images collected in a top-down view displayed as XZ orthogonal view reveals nuclei (B) but little discernable detail for α-catenin (B’, B”) and even the digitally enhanced image (B”) fails to reveal the basal epithelial surface (arrow). C. Transverse dorsoventral section displaying the Distal-less (Dll, green) gradient in the wing pouch and subcellular localization of DE-Cadherin (magenta) throughout the epithelium. D. View of the wing pouch. Dorsal is to the left; apical is up. Scale bars are 1 µm in A, B, 11 µm in C, 5 µm in D.

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