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Dev Growth Differ 2024 Apr 01;663:256-265. doi: 10.1111/dgd.12919.
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Development of a heat-stable alkaline phosphatase reporter system for cis-regulatory analysis and its application to 3D digital imaging of Xenopus embryonic tissues.

Sakagami K , Igawa T , Saikawa K , Sakaguchi Y , Hossain N , Kato C , Kinemori K , Suzuki N , Suzuki M , Kawaguchi A , Ochi H , Tajika Y , Ogino H .

Xenopus is one of the essential model systems for studying vertebrate development. However, one drawback of this system is that, because of the opacity of Xenopus embryos, 3D imaging analysis is limited to surface structures, explant cultures, and post-embryonic tadpoles. To develop a technique for 3D tissue/organ imaging in whole Xenopus embryos, we identified optimal conditions for using placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP) as a transgenic reporter and applied it to the correlative light microscopy and block-face imaging (CoMBI) method for visualization of PLAP-expressing tissues/organs. In embryos whose endogenous alkaline phosphatase activities were heat-inactivated, PLAP staining visualized various tissue-specific enhancer/promoter activities in a manner consistent with green fluorescent protein (GFP) fluorescence. Furthermore, PLAP staining appeared to be more sensitive than GFP fluorescence as a reporter, and the resulting expression patterns were not mosaic, in striking contrast to the mosaic staining pattern of β-galactosidase expressed from the lacZ gene that was introduced by the same transgenesis method. Owing to efficient penetration of alkaline phosphatase substrates, PLAP activity was detected in deep tissues, such as the developing brain, spinal cord, heart, and somites, by whole-mount staining. The stained embryos were analyzed by the CoMBI method, resulting in the digital reconstruction of 3D images of the PLAP-expressing tissues. These results demonstrate the efficacy of the PLAP reporter system for detecting enhancer/promoter activities driving deep tissue expression and its combination with the CoMBI method as a powerful approach for 3D digital imaging analysis of specific tissue/organ structures in Xenopus embryos.

PubMed ID: 38439617
Article link: Dev Growth Differ
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus tropicalis Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: actc1 eef1a1 plaa six3 tubb2b
GO keywords: alkaline phosphatase activity

Article Images: [+] show captions