Xenopus laevis is an ideal model system for investigating dynamic morphogenetic processes during embryogenesis, regeneration, and homeostasis. Our understanding of these events has been greatly facilitated by lineage labeling, that is, marking a cell or a group of cells and all their descendants using vital dyes, fluorescent molecules, or transplantation techniques. Unfortunately, these strategies are limited in their spatiotemporal resolution: They do not allow long-term dynamic in vivo imaging, are generally invasive, and labeling is restricted to cells on the surface. Genetically encoded fluorescent proteins (FPs), on the other hand, provide excellent alternative methods to traditional lineage labeling, enabling labeling with high spatiotemporal resolution and tracking of cellular and subcellular structures to study patterning events. Over the past decade, FPs have evolved to allow fine control of their spectral properties (in a defined region of interest) for greater labeling specificity. One example is EosFP, which is a protein cloned from the scleractinian coral Lobophyllia hemprichii that can be photoconverted from green to red fluorescence state with near-ultraviolet (UV) light irradiation. Here, we describe EosFP-photoconversion of Xenopus embryos to track cells during developmental and regenerative processes using a metal-halide- or xenon-arc-based fluorescent microscope system, which provides a simpler, less expensive alternative to photoconversion using laser microscopy.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a large family of endogenous noncoding RNAs that, together with the Argonaute family of proteins (AGOs), silence the expression of complementary mRNA targets posttranscriptionally. Perfectly complementary targets are cleaved within the base-paired region by catalytic ... more
Intrinsic optical changes (light scattering signals) occur in mammalian nerve terminals during and immediately following the arrival of the action potential. In the neurohypophysis (posterior pituitary gland), the action potential is coupled to calcium-mediated secretion of the neuropeptid ... more
The skeleton as an organ is widely distributed throughout the entire vertebrate body. Wnt signaling has emerged to play major roles in almost all aspects of skeletal development and homeostasis. Because abnormal Wnt signaling causes various human skeletal diseases, Wnt signaling has become ... more