133 research outputs found

    Short-term chilled storage of zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos in cryoprotectant as an alternative to cryopreservation.

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    As zebrafish embryos have never been cryopreserved, we developed a protocol to store zebrafish embryos (50% epiboly-5.3 hour post fertilization) for up to 18 h at 0°C. Initial experiments to optimize the cryoprotectant (CPA) solution demonstrated improved embryo hatching rate following chilling at 0°C for 18 h with 1 M MeOH+0.1 M sucrose (56 ± 5%) compared with other combinations of methanol (0.2-0.5 M) and sucrose (0.05-0.1 M). This combination of CPAs that protects against chilling injury was further tested to assess its impact on sox gene and protein expression. Significant decreases in sox3 gene expression were observed in hatched embryos that had been chilled for 18 h in 1 M MeOH+0.1 sucrose compared with non-chilled controls, however the expression of both sox2 and sox3 proteins was unaffected. Significant decreases in sox2 protein expression were, however, observed in embryos that had been chilled without CPAs and these embryos also had lower hatching rates than those chilled with the optimal CPA solution. We, therefore, conclude that the CPA combination of 1 M MeOH+0.1 M sucrose facilitates chilled storage of early stage (50% epiboly) zebrafish embryos for up to 18 h without compromising transcriptional response

    Monorail/Foxa2 regulates floorplate differentiation and specification of oligodendrocytes, serotonergic raphe neurones and cranial motoneurones

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    In this study, we elucidate the roles of the winged-helix transcription factor Foxa2 in ventral CNS development in zebrafish. Through cloning of monorail (mol), which we find encodes the transcription factor Foxa2, and phenotypic analysis of mol(-/-) embryos, we show that floorplate is induced in the absence of Foxa2 function but fails to further differentiate. In mol(-/-) mutants, expression of Foxa and Hh family genes is not maintained in floorplate cells and lateral expansion of the floorplate fails to occur. Our results suggest that this is due to defects both in the regulation of Hh activity in medial floorplate cells as well as cell-autonomous requirements for Foxa2 in the prospective laterally positioned floorplate cells themselves. Foxa2 is also required for induction and/or patterning of several distinct cell types in the ventral CNS. Serotonergic neurones of the raphe nucleus and the trochlear motor nucleus are absent in mol(-/-) embryos, and oculomotor and facial motoneurones ectopically occupy ventral CNS midline positions in the midbrain and hindbrain. There is also a severe reduction of prospective oligodendrocytes in the midbrain and hindbrain. Finally, in the absence of Foxa2, at least two likely Hh pathway target genes are ectopically expressed in more dorsal regions of the midbrain and hindbrain ventricular neuroepithelium, raising the possibility that Foxa2 activity may normally be required to limit the range of action of secreted Hh proteins

    Unique reporter-based sensor platforms to monitor signalling in cells

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    Introduction: In recent years much progress has been made in the development of tools for systems biology to study the levels of mRNA and protein, and their interactions within cells. However, few multiplexed methodologies are available to study cell signalling directly at the transcription factor level. <p/>Methods: Here we describe a sensitive, plasmid-based RNA reporter methodology to study transcription factor activation in mammalian cells, and apply this technology to profiling 60 transcription factors in parallel. The methodology uses two robust and easily accessible detection platforms; quantitative real-time PCR for quantitative analysis and DNA microarrays for parallel, higher throughput analysis. <p/>Findings: We test the specificity of the detection platforms with ten inducers and independently validate the transcription factor activation. <p/>Conclusions: We report a methodology for the multiplexed study of transcription factor activation in mammalian cells that is direct and not theoretically limited by the number of available reporters

    Microtome-integrated microscope system for high sensitivity tracking of in-resin fluorescence in blocks and ultrathin sections for correlative microscopy

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    Many areas of biological research demand the combined use of different imaging modalities to cover a wide range of magnifications and measurements or to place fluorescent patterns into an ultrastructural context. A technically difficult problem is the efficient specimen transfer between different imaging modalities without losing the coordinates of the regions-of-interest (ROI). Here, we report a new and highly sensitive integrated system that combines a custom designed microscope with an ultramicrotome for in-resin-fluorescence detection in blocks, ribbons and sections on EM-grids. Although operating with long-distance lenses, this system achieves a very high light sensitivity. Our instrumental set-up and operating workflow are designed to investigate rare events in large tissue volumes. Applications range from studies of individual immune, stem and cancer cells to the investigation of non-uniform subcellular processes. As a use case, we present the ultrastructure of a single membrane repair patch on a muscle fiber in intact muscle in a whole animal context

    Ewing Sarcoma Protein Ewsr1 Maintains Mitotic Integrity and Proneural Cell Survival in the Zebrafish Embryo

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    BACKGROUND:The Ewing sarcoma breakpoint region 1 gene (EWSR1), also known as EWS, is fused to a number of different partner genes as a result of chromosomal translocation in diverse sarcomas. Despite the involvement of EWSR1 in these diverse sarcomas, the in vivo function of wild type EWSR1 remains unclear. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We identified two zebrafish EWSR1 orthologues, ewsr1a and ewsr1b, and demonstrate that both genes are expressed maternally, and are expressed ubiquitously throughout zebrafish embryonic development. Morpholino induced knockdown of both zebrafish ewsr1 genes led to mitotic defects with multipolar or otherwise abnormal mitotic spindles starting from the bud stage (10 hour post-fertilization (hpf)). The abnormalities in mitotic spindles were followed by p53-mediated apoptosis in the developing central nervous system (CNS) leading to a reduction in the number of proneural cells, disorganization of neuronal networks, and embryonic lethality by 5 days post-fertilization. siRNA silencing of EWSR1 in Hela cells resulted in mitotic defects accompanied by apoptotic cell death, indicating that the role of EWSR1 is conserved between zebrafish and human. CONCLUSIONS:Ewsr1 maintains mitotic integrity and proneural cell survival in early zebrafish development

    Ultraviolet radiation shapes seaweed communities

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    Hepatitis C Virus Reveals a Novel Early Control in Acute Immune Response

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    Recognition of viral RNA structures by the intracytosolic RNA helicase RIG-I triggers induction of innate immunity. Efficient induction requires RIG-I ubiquitination by the E3 ligase TRIM25, its interaction with the mitochondria-bound MAVS protein, recruitment of TRAF3, IRF3- and NF-κB-kinases and transcription of Interferon (IFN). In addition, IRF3 alone induces some of the Interferon-Stimulated Genes (ISGs), referred to as early ISGs. Infection of hepatocytes with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) results in poor production of IFN despite recognition of the viral RNA by RIG-I but can lead to induction of early ISGs. HCV was shown to inhibit IFN production by cleaving MAVS through its NS3/4A protease and by controlling cellular translation through activation of PKR, an eIF2α-kinase containing dsRNA-binding domains (DRBD). Here, we have identified a third mode of control of IFN induction by HCV. Using HCVcc and the Huh7.25.CD81 cells, we found that HCV controls RIG-I ubiquitination through the di-ubiquitine-like protein ISG15, one of the early ISGs. A transcriptome analysis performed on Huh7.25.CD81 cells silenced or not for PKR and infected with JFH1 revealed that HCV infection leads to induction of 49 PKR-dependent genes, including ISG15 and several early ISGs. Silencing experiments revealed that this novel PKR-dependent pathway involves MAVS, TRAF3 and IRF3 but not RIG-I, and that it does not induce IFN. Use of PKR inhibitors showed that this pathway requires the DRBD but not the kinase activity of PKR. We then demonstrated that PKR interacts with HCV RNA and MAVS prior to RIG-I. In conclusion, HCV recruits PKR early in infection as a sensor to trigger induction of several IRF3-dependent genes. Among those, ISG15 acts to negatively control the RIG-I/MAVS pathway, at the level of RIG-I ubiquitination.These data give novel insights in the machinery involved in the early events of innate immune response

    IL-6 is constitutively expressed during lung morphogenesis and enhances fetal lung explant branching

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    Previous studies have shown that chorioamnionitis, with increased IL-6, promotes fetal lung maturation and decreases the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome in premature neonates. However, the expression pattern and the effects of IL-6 on fetal lung growth mechanisms remain unknown. IL-6 expression was assessed by in situ hybridization and by real-time PCR between 14.5 and 21.5 d postconception. Normal and nitrofen-induced hypoplastic lung explants were cultured with increasing IL-6 doses or IL-6 neutralizing antibodies. Branching, cellular proliferation (Ki-67) and MAPK phosphorylation in fetal lung explants were analyzed. Pulmonary primitive epithelium expressed IL-6 constitutively throughout all gestational ages, displaying highest levels during earliest stages. In normal and hypoplastic lung explants, IL-6 neutralizing antibodies significantly reduced, whereas IL-6 supplementation induced a biphasic effect (lower doses increased, while the highest dose did not accomplish additional effect) on branching and cellular proliferation. IL-6 enhanced p38-MAPK phosphorylation without changing MEK1/2 and JNK pathways. The present study suggests a physiological role for IL-6 on pulmonary branching mechanisms most likely involving p38-MAPK intracellular signalling pathway

    Miniaturized Embryo Array for Automated Trapping, Immobilization and Microperfusion of Zebrafish Embryos

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    Zebrafish (Danio rerio) has recently emerged as a powerful experimental model in drug discovery and environmental toxicology. Drug discovery screens performed on zebrafish embryos mirror with a high level of accuracy the tests usually performed on mammalian animal models, and fish embryo toxicity assay (FET) is one of the most promising alternative approaches to acute ecotoxicity testing with adult fish. Notwithstanding this, automated in-situ analysis of zebrafish embryos is still deeply in its infancy. This is mostly due to the inherent limitations of conventional techniques and the fact that metazoan organisms are not easily susceptible to laboratory automation. In this work, we describe the development of an innovative miniaturized chip-based device for the in-situ analysis of zebrafish embryos. We present evidence that automatic, hydrodynamic positioning, trapping and long-term immobilization of single embryos inside the microfluidic chips can be combined with time-lapse imaging to provide real-time developmental analysis. Our platform, fabricated using biocompatible polymer molding technology, enables rapid trapping of embryos in low shear stress zones, uniform drug microperfusion and high-resolution imaging without the need of manual embryo handling at various developmental stages. The device provides a highly controllable fluidic microenvironment and post-analysis eleuthero-embryo stage recovery. Throughout the incubation, the position of individual embryos is registered. Importantly, we also for first time show that microfluidic embryo array technology can be effectively used for the analysis of anti-angiogenic compounds using transgenic zebrafish line (fli1a:EGFP). The work provides a new rationale for rapid and automated manipulation and analysis of developing zebrafish embryos at a large scale
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