ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-160330-5
Isolation and Characterization of Single Cells from Zebrafish Embryos
Samsa, L.A., Fleming, N., Magness, S., Qian, L., Liu, J.
Date: 2016
Source: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE   (109): (Journal)
Registered Authors: Fleming, Nicole, Liu, Jiandong, Samsa, Leigh Ann
Keywords: none
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Cell Separation/methods*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian/cytology
  • Primary Cell Culture/methods*
  • Transcriptome
  • Zebrafish/embryology*
  • Zebrafish/metabolism
PubMed: 27022828 Full text @ J. Vis. Exp.
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a powerful model organism to study vertebrate development. Though many aspects of zebrafish embryonic development have been described at the morphological level, little is known about the molecular basis of cellular changes that occur as the organism develops. With recent advancements in microfluidics and multiplexing technologies, it is now possible to characterize gene expression in single cells. This allows for investigation of heterogeneity between individual cells of specific cell populations to identify and classify cell subtypes, characterize intermediate states that occur during cell differentiation, and explore differential cellular responses to stimuli. This study describes a protocol to isolate viable, single cells from zebrafish embryos for high throughput multiplexing assays. This method may be rapidly applied to any zebrafish embryonic cell type with fluorescent markers. An extension of this method may also be used in combination with high throughput sequencing technologies to fully characterize the transcriptome of single cells. As proof of principle, the relative abundance of cardiac differentiation markers was assessed in isolated, single cells derived from nkx2.5 positive cardiac progenitors. By evaluation of gene expression at the single cell level and at a single time point, the data support a model in which cardiac progenitors coexist with differentiating progeny. The method and work flow described here is broadly applicable to the zebrafish research community, requiring only a labeled transgenic fish line and access to microfluidics technologies.