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Generating form and function: Imaging development featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

12/01/2010

COLD SPRING HARBOR,N.Y.(Wed., Dec. 1, 2010) – New imaging technologies have revolutionized the study of developmental biology.  Where researchers once struggled to connect events at static timepoints, imaging tools now offer the ability to visualize the dynamic form and function of molecules, cells, tissues, and whole embryos throughout the entire developmental process.  In order to observe development over time, it is necessary to grow the embryos of laboratory model organisms on the microscope stage, and keep them as healthy and in as natural a state as possible. Two methods for culturing and imaging the embryos of model organisms are featured in the December issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/TOCs/toc12_10.dtl ).

Caenorhabditis elegans has been a key organism for understanding cellular differentiation and development.  The fate of every one of the worm's somatic cells has been mapped out, and its short developmental time, transparent shell, and nonpigmented cells makes C. elegans an ideal subject for imaging studies.  Timothy Walston from Truman State University (http://www2.truman.edu/~tdwalston/ ) and Jeff Hardin from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (http://worms.zoology.wisc.edu/ ) provide An Agar Mount for Observation of Caenorhabditis elegans Embryos, an easy way to prepare live C. elegans  embryos for microscopic visualization.  The method involves embedding the embryo in agar to hold it in place, providing a fixed orientation for consistent imaging. Embryos prepared this way are amenable to both light microscopy and confocal microscopy. The article is freely available on the journal's website (http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/cgi/content/full/2010/12/pdb.prot5540 ).

Visualizing mammalian development presents an obvious problem: embryos must develop in utero.  Extensive work has been done to develop embryonic culture techniques for external development of mouse embryos, allowing imaging approaches to be applied.  Imaging Cell Movements in Egg-Cylinder Stage Mouse Embryos from Oxford University's Shankar Srinivas (http://www.dpag.ox.ac.uk/research/development_reproduction/shankar_srinivas ) describes a method to isolate and culture early mouse embryos, as well as an approach for time-lapse imaging as those embryos develop.  While cell movements can be followed using light microscopy alone, the increasing variety of transgenic fluorescent reporter mice makes studies of cell movement easier and more informative. The article is freely available on the journal's website (http://cshprotocols.cshlp.org/cgi/content/full/2010/12/pdb.prot5539 ).

Both articles are adapted from the forthcoming Imaging in Developmental Biology: A Laboratory Manual (http://www.cshlpress.com/link/imagingp.htm ). Available later this month, the collection is part of a new laboratory manual series on imaging techniques and features primers on live imaging of a variety of standard model organisms.

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About Cold Spring Harbor Protocols:
Cold Spring Harbor Protocols ( www.cshprotocols.org ) is a monthly peer-reviewed journal of methods used in a wide range of biology laboratories. It is structured to be highly interactive, with each protocol cross-linked to related methods, descriptive information panels, and illustrative material to maximize the total information available to investigators. Each protocol is clearly presented and designed for easy use at the bench—complete with reagents, equipment, and recipe lists. Life science researchers can access the entire collection via institutional site licenses, and can add their suggestions and comments to further refine the techniques.

About Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press is an internationally renowned publisher of books, journals, and electronic media, located on Long Island, New York.  Since 1933, it has furthered the advance and spread of scientific knowledge in all areas of genetics and molecular biology, including cancer biology, plant science, bioinformatics, and neurobiology.  It is a division of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an innovator in life science research and the education of scientists, students, and the public.  For more information, visit www.cshlpress.com.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
For content and submission information:
David Crotty ( crotty@cshl.edu ; 516-422-4007), Executive Editor, Cold Spring Harbor Protocols

For access, subscription, and free trial information:
Stephanie Novara ( novara@cshl.edu ; 516-422-4159), Journals Marketing Manager, CSHL Press



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