ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-120105-26
Single cell fate mapping in zebrafish
Kohli, V., Rehn, K., and Sumanas, S.
Date: 2011
Source: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE   (56): (Journal)
Registered Authors: Kohli, Vikram, Sumanas, Saulius
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Dextrans/analysis
  • Dextrans/chemistry
  • Fluoresceins/analysis
  • Fluoresceins/chemistry
  • Immunohistochemistry/methods*
  • Microscopy, Confocal/methods
  • Photochemical Processes
  • Single-Cell Analysis/methods*
  • Zebrafish
PubMed: 22158118 Full text @ J. Vis. Exp.

The ability to differentially label single cells has important implications in developmental biology. For instance, determining how hematopoietic, lymphatic, and blood vessel lineages arise in developing embryos requires fate mapping and lineage tracing of undifferentiated precursor cells. Recently, photoactivatable proteins which include: Eos, PAmCherry, Kaede, pKindling, and KikGR have received wide interest as cell tracing probes. The fluorescence spectrum of these photosensitive proteins can be easily converted with UV excitation, allowing a population of cells to be distinguished from adjacent ones. However, the photoefficiency of the activated protein may limit long-term cell tracking<. As an alternative to photoactivatable proteins, caged fluorescein-dextran has been widely used in embryo model systems. Traditionally, to uncage fluorescein-dextran, UV excitation from a fluorescence lamp house or a single photon UV laser has been used; however, such sources limit the spatial resolution of photoactivation. Here we report a protocol to fate map, lineage trace, and detect single labeled cells. Single cells in embryos injected with caged fluorescein-dextran are photoactivated with near-infrared laser pulses produced from a titanium sapphire femtosecond laser. This laser is customary in all two-photon confocal microscopes such as the LSM 510 META NLO microscope used in this paper. Since biological tissue is transparent to near-infrared irradiation, the laser pulses can be focused deep within the embryo without uncaging cells above or below the selected focal plane. Therefore, non-linear two-photon absorption is induced only at the geometric focus to uncage fluorescein-dextran in a single cell. To detect the cell containing uncaged fluorescein-dextran, we describe a simple immunohistochemistry protocol to rapidly visualize the activated cell. The activation and detection protocol presented in this paper is versatile and can be applied to any model system.