Microdissection of zebrafish embryonic eye tissues

Zhang, L., and Leung, Y.F.
Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE   (40): (Journal)
Registered Authors
Leung, Yuk Fai, Zhang, Liyun
MeSH Terms
  • Animals
  • Choroid/surgery
  • Lens, Crystalline/surgery
  • Microdissection/methods*
  • Models, Animal
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures/methods*
  • Retina/surgery*
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium/surgery*
  • Sclera/surgery
  • Zebrafish/surgery*
20613711 Full text @ J. Vis. Exp.
Zebrafish is a popular animal model for research on eye development because of its rapid ex utero development and good fecundity. By 3 days post fertilization (dpf), the larvae will show the first visual response. Many genes have been identified to control a proper eye development, but we are far from a complete understanding of the underlying genetic architecture. Whole genome gene expression profiling is a useful tool to elucidate genetic regulatory network for eye development. However, the small size of the embryonic eye in zebrafish makes it challenging to obtain intact and pure eye tissues for expression analysis. For example, the anterior-posterior length of the eye between day 2 and 3 is only approximately 200-300 microm, while the diameter of the lens is less 100 microm. Also, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) underlying the retina is just a single-layer epithelium. While gene expression profiles can be obtained from the whole embryo, they do not accurately represent the expression of these tissues. Therefore pure tissue must be obtained for a successful gene expression profiling of eye development. To address this issue, we have developed an approach to microdissect intact retina and retina with RPE attached from 1-3 dpf, which cover major stages of eye morphogenesis. All procedures can be done with fine forceps and general laboratory supplies under standard stereomicroscopes. For retinal dissection, the single-layer RPE is removed and peeled off by brushing action and the preferential adherence of the RPE remnants to the surface of the culture plate for dissection. For RPE-attached retinal dissection, the adherence of RPE to the dissection plate is removed before the dissection so that the RPE can be completely preserved with the retina. A careful lifting action of this tissue can efficiently separate the presumptive choroid and sclera. The lens can be removed in both cases by a chemically etched tungsten needle. In short, our approach can obtain intact eye tissues and has been successfully utilized to study tissue-specific expression profiles of zebrafish retina and retinal pigment epithelium.
Genes / Markers
Mutations / Transgenics
Human Disease / Model
Sequence Targeting Reagents
Engineered Foreign Genes