Developmental Biology


Protocols in Current Issue
Protocols in Past Issues
0 Q&A 1274 Views Dec 20, 2023

The African killifish Nothobranchius furzeri is an attractive research organism for regeneration- and aging-related studies due to its remarkably short generation time and rapid aging. Dynamic changes in cell proliferation are an essential biological process involved in development, regeneration, and aging. Quantifying the dynamics of cell proliferation in these contexts facilitates the elucidation of the attendant underlying mechanisms. Whole-mount and cryosectioning sample preparation are the preferred approaches to investigate the distribution of cellular structures, cell–cell communication, and spatial gene expression within tissues. Using African killifish caudal fin regeneration as an example, we describe an efficient and detailed protocol to investigate cell proliferation dynamics in both space and time during caudal fin regeneration. The quantification of cell proliferation was achieved through high-resolution immunofluorescence of the proliferation marker Phospho-Histone H3 (H3P). We focused on the characterization of epithelial and mesenchymal proliferation in three-dimensional space at two regeneration time points. Our protocol provides a reliable tool for comparing cell proliferation under different biological contexts.

Key features

• Elaborates in detail the method used by Wang et al. (2020) to quantify whole-organ mitotic events during tail fin regeneration in vertebrates.

• Enables proliferation analysis of millimeter-sized homeostatic and regenerating tissues.

• Three-day alternative method to whole mount using cryosections.

• Allows automatic quantification using ImageJ macros and R scripts.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 571 Views May 5, 2023

Accidental wounding of the peripheral nervous system leads to acute neural dysfunction. Normally, chronic deficits are overcome because peripheral nerves naturally regenerate. However, various genetic and metabolic defects can impair their natural regenerative capacity, which may be due to neuron-extrinsic mechanisms. Therefore, characterizing the behavior of multiple cells during nerve injury and repair in vivo is a pressing need in regenerative medicine. Here, we detail a method for precise wounding of sensory axons in zebrafish, followed by high-resolution in toto long-term quantitative videomicroscopy of neurons, Schwann cells, and macrophages. This protocol can be easily adapted to study the effects of targeted genetic or metabolic disruptions in zebrafish and other suitable organisms, as well as for screening pharmacological agents with therapeutic potential.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 1755 Views Sep 5, 2022

Skeletal muscle stem cells differentiated from human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) serve as a uniquely promising model system for investigating human myogenesis and disease pathogenesis, and for the development of gene editing and regenerative stem cell therapies. Here, we present an effective and reproducible transgene-free protocol for derivation of human skeletal muscle stem cells, iMyoblasts, from hiPSCs. Our two-step protocol consists of 1) small molecule-based differentiation of hiPSCs into myocytes, and 2) stimulation of differentiated myocytes with growth factor-rich medium to activate the proliferation of undifferentiated reserve cells, for expansion and cell line establishment. iMyoblasts are PAX3+/MyoD1+ myogenic stem cells with dual potential to undergo muscle differentiation and to self-renew as a regenerative cell population for muscle regeneration both ex vivo and in vivo. The simplicity and robustness of iMyoblast generation and expansion have enabled their application to model the molecular pathogenesis of Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy and Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophies, to both ex vivo and in vivo muscle xenografts, and to respond efficiently to gene editing, enabling the co-development of gene correction and stem cell regenerative therapeutic technologies for the treatment of muscular dystrophies and muscle injury.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 2096 Views Dec 20, 2021

Wound healing is a critical process for maintaining the integrity of tissues, driven in large part by the active migration of cells to cover damaged regions. While the long-term tissue injury response over hours and days has been extensively studied, the rapid early migratory response of cells to injury in vivo is still being uncovered, especially in model systems such as zebrafish larvae, which are ideal for live imaging with high spatiotemporal resolution. Observing these dynamics requires a wounding method that prompts a robust wound response and is compatible with immediate live imaging or other downstream applications. We have developed a procedure for wounding the epidermis in the tailfin of larval zebrafish, which we term “tissue laceration”. In this procedure, the tailfin is impaled with a glass needle that is then dragged through the tissue, which generates a full-thickness wound that elicits a dramatic migratory wound response within seconds from cells up to several hundred micrometers away from the wound. Laceration generates a larger wound response in the first few minutes following wounding compared to other mechanical wounds such as tail transection, and laceration does not require specialized equipment compared to laser wounding methods. This procedure can be used to interrogate the processes by which epidermal cells far away from the wound are able to rapidly detect injury and respond to the wound.

0 Q&A 2293 Views Nov 20, 2021

In males, Leydig cells are the primary source of testosterone, which is necessary for testis development, masculinization, and spermatogenesis. Leydig cells are a valuable cellular model for basic research; thus, it is important to develop an improved method for isolation and purification of Leydig cells from testes. The available methods for Leydig cell isolation have some drawbacks, including the need for sophisticated instruments, high cost, tediousness, and time consumption. Here, we describe an improved protocol for isolation of primary Leydig cells from testicular tissue by digestion with collagenase IV.

0 Q&A 3174 Views Oct 20, 2021

Cholangiocytes are epithelial cells lining the intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts. Cholangiocytes perform key physiological functions in the liver. Bile synthesized by hepatocytes is secreted into bile canaliculi, further stored in the gallbladder, and finally discharged into the duodenum. Due to liver injury, biliary epithelial proliferate in response to endogenous or exogenous signals leading to cholangiopathies, inflammation, fibrosis, and cholangiocarcinoma. Cholangiocytes exhibit anatomical and functional heterogeneity, and understanding such diversified functions will potentially help in finding effective therapies for various cholestatic liver diseases. To perform such functional studies, effective cholangiocyte isolation and culture procedures are needed. This protocol will aid in easy isolation and expansion of cholangiocytes from the liver.

0 Q&A 2878 Views Aug 5, 2021

The periosteum covering the outer surface of bone contains skeletal stem/progenitor cells that can efficiently form cartilage and bone during bone repair. Several methods have been described to isolate periosteal cells based on bone scraping and/or enzymatic digestion. Here, we describe an explant culture method to isolate periosteum-derived stem/progenitor cells for subsequent in vitro and in vivo analyses. Periosteal cells (PCs) isolated using this protocol express mesenchymal markers, can be expanded in vitro, and exhibit high regenerative potential after in vivo transplantation at a fracture site, suggesting that this protocol can be employed for PC production to use in new cell-based therapies.

0 Q&A 3545 Views Dec 20, 2020

Immunohistochemistry is a widely used technique to examine the expression and subcellular localization of proteins. This technique relies on the specificity of antibodies and requires adequate penetration of antibodies into tissues. The latter is especially challenging for thick specimens, such as embryos and other whole-mount preparations. Here we describe an improved method of immunohistochemistry for retinal whole-mount preparations. We report that a cocktail of three reagents, Triton X-100, Tween-20, and DMSO, in blocking and antibody dilution buffers strongly enhances immunolabeling in whole-mount retinas from adult zebrafish. In addition, we establish that in whole retinal tissues, a classic epitope retrieval method, based on citrate buffer, is effective for immunolabeling membrane-associated proteins. Overall, this simple modification allows precise and reproducible immunolabeling of proteins in retinal whole-mounts.

0 Q&A 8474 Views Jul 20, 2020
The skeletal muscle is key for body mobility and motor performance, but aging and diseases often lead to progressive loss of muscle mass due to wasting or degeneration of muscle cells. Muscle satellite cells (MuSCs) represent a population of tissue stem cells residing in the skeletal muscles and are responsible for homeostatic maintenance and regeneration of skeletal muscles. Growth, injury, and degenerative signals activate MuSCs, which then proliferate (proliferating MuSCs are called myoblasts), differentiate and fuse with existing multinuclear muscle cells (myofibers) to mediate muscle growth and repair. Here, we describe a protocol for isolating MuSCs from skeletal muscles of mice for in vitro analysis. In addition, we provide a detailed protocol on how to culture and differentiate primary myoblasts into myotubes and an immunofluorescent staining procedure to characterize the cells. These methods are essential for modeling regenerative myogenesis in vitro to understand the dynamics, function and molecular regulation of MuSCs.
0 Q&A 4072 Views Mar 20, 2020
The Min system determines the cell division plane of bacteria. As a cue of spatiotemporal regulation, the Min system uses wave propagation of MinD protein (Min wave). Therefore, the reconstitution of the Min wave in cell-sized closed space will lead to the creation of artificial cells capable of cell division. The Min waves emerge via coupling between the reactions among MinD, MinE, and ATP and the differences in diffusion rate on the cell membrane and in the cytoplasm. Because Min waves appear only under the balanced condition of the reaction-diffusion coupling, special attentions are needed towards several technical points for the reconstitution of Min waves in artificial cells. This protocol describes a technical method for stably generating Min waves in artificial cells.

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. By using our website, you are agreeing to allow the storage of cookies on your computer.