Antinucci et al., 2016 - A crystal-clear zebrafish for in vivo imaging. Scientific Reports   6:29490 Full text @ Sci. Rep.

Fig. 1

Generation of crystal, a fully transparent combinatorial pigmentation mutant.

(a) Left: schematic diagram of the main populations of pigment cells in wild type (WT) zebrafish. Centre: cell lineages generating the different populations of pigment cells. Right: mutations affecting genes controlling either pigment cell formation (nacrew2/w2 and roya9/a9) or melanin production (albb4/b4) used to generate the crystal mutant. RPE, retinal pigment epithelium. (b-d) Pigmentation phenotypes of wild type, single mutant, casper and crystal zebrafish at adult (>3 month old, (b)), embryonic (3 dpf, (c)) and larval (7 dpf, (d)) stages. Red dashed boxes indicate crystal mutants. Insets on the right display eye pigmentation phenotypes. 3 dpf and 7 dpf zebrafish treated with 200 µM PTU are shown at the bottom of (c,d). Note that the optical transparency of crystal fish is higher than that of wild type, single mutant, casper and PTU-treated fish.

Fig. 2

PTU impairs zebrafish behaviour and visual system function.

(a) Schematic diagram illustrating the optomotor response behavioural assay. Individual 5 dpf larvae were positioned in a petri dish containing Danieau solution. An LCD screen controlled by a computer was used to display black and white square-wave gratings moving in 4 directions (red arrows) at the bottom of the petri dish. Each larva was tested 5 times in total (each trial lasted 6 seconds) and scored according to the trials it responded to (i.e., fish turns and swims in the direction of the moving gratings). (b) Quantification of the optomotor response assays for 5 dpf wild type (WT, black), crystal (blue) and PTU-treated (red) larvae (n = 25 larvae in each group). The frequency distribution (left), cumulative frequency distribution (centre) and mean ± SEM (right) of number of responsive trials per larva are reported. Note that PTU-treated larvae show a significant decrease in the number of trials they respond to. ns, non-significant; ***p < 0.001; one-way ANOVA with post-hoc Tukey’s HSD test. (c) Functional calcium imaging of tectal cells and retinal ganglion cell axons expressing GCaMP5G (green) in 4 dpf Tg(elavl3:GCaMP5G) larvae. Distance of right eye from projection screen is 3 cm. Recordings are performed from 3 Z-planes (approximately 20 µm total volume thickness) in the contralateral optic tectum at 4 Hz image acquisition rate. Dashed box shows the angles of moving bars relative to zebrafish larva orientation. Mean ΔF/F0 images of calcium recordings in untreated (control) and PTU-treated larvae followed by mapping of direction-selective (DS) and orientation-selective (OS) voxels are displayed. Np, neuropil; SPV, stratum periventriculare; DSI, direction selectivity index; OSI, orientation selectivity index. Scale bar is 40 µm. (d) Average number (top) and relative frequency (bottom) of DS, OS, visually responsive and non-DS/non-OS voxels per Z-plane in control and PTU-treated 4 dpf larvae (n = 12 larvae in each group). Criteria used to identify DS and OS voxels are reported at the top. Note the dramatic reduction in visually responsive, DS and OS voxels following 200 µM PTU treatment. Error bars are ± SEM. ***p < 0.001, unpaired two-tailed Student’s t test.

Fig. 3

Improved optical accessibility of zebrafish larvae in whole-brain light-sheet imaging using crystal.

(a) Volumetric imaging of the larval zebrafish brain with light-sheet microscopy in 4 dpf nacre (top), casper (middle) and crystal (bottom) Tg(elavl3:GCaMP6f) larvae (n = 4-5 larvae in each group). Six different volume sections per larva out of 450 (total xyz volume of 798 × 623 × 283 µm3) are displayed. L, left; A, anterior. Scale bar is 200 µm. (b) Single volume sections of the brain (100 µm Z plane depth) in nacre (left), casper (middle) and crystal (right) larvae. Note the dark region between the eyes of nacre and casper larvae due to the excitation light being absorbed or reflected by pigments present on the surface of the eyes. L, left; A, anterior. Scale bar is 100 µm. (c) Insets showing the labelling of amacrine and ganglion cells in the left retina of the crystal larva (right) compared to nacre (left) and casper (middle) larvae, where no GCaMP6f fluorescence is detected in the eyes. T, temporal; N, nasal. Scale bar is 50 µm. (d) 3D reconstructions of the brain (lateral view) of nacre (left), casper (middle) and crystal (right) Tg(elavl3:GCaMP6f) larvae shown in (a). Note the improved optical accessibility (~18% of brain volume) allowed by crystal. P, posterior; V, ventral. Scale bar is 100 µm. (e) Average imaged brain volume in nacre, casper and crystal 4 dpf Tg(elavl3:GCaMP6f) larvae. Error bars are ± SEM. ns, non-significant; *p < 0.05; **p < 0.01; one-way ANOVA with post-hoc Tukey’s HSD test.

Fig. 4

Calcium imaging of visually evoked neural activity in the retina using crystal.

(a) Two-photon functional calcium imaging of amacrine cells and ganglion cell dendrites expressing GCaMP6f (green) in 4 dpf crystal Tg(elavl3:GCaMP6f) larvae (n = 8 larvae). Distance of the eye from LCD screen is 2 cm. Recordings are performed from 2-4 Z-planes (approximately 20 µm total volume thickness) at 4 Hz image acquisition rate. Dashed box shows the angles of moving gratings relative to zebrafish larva orientation. INL, inner nuclear layer; GCL, ganglion cell layer; IPL, inner plexiform layer. Scale bar is 20 µm. (b,c) Mean ΔF/F0 image of a representative calcium recording (b) followed by voxel-wise analysis of direction and orientation selectivity of visual responses (c). DSI, direction selectivity index; OSI, orientation selectivity index. (d) ΔF/F0 calcium traces during a representative tuning experiment from the 6 selected regions of interest (ROIs) shown in (b). Polar plots showing the tuning profiles (i.e., integral ΔF/F0 responses to different stimuli) of individual ROIs are reported on the right. Stimulus epochs are shown in grey. Dark arrows indicate the different directions of gratings motion. The blank-screen null condition is indicated by a ‘-’ sign.

Acknowledgments:
ZFIN wishes to thank the journal Scientific Reports for permission to reproduce figures from this article. Please note that this material may be protected by copyright. Full text @ Sci. Rep.