Histological Techniques - PBworks

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Other Methods
• Northern blotting – analyzes mRNA expression in
tissue
• In situ hybridization – Visualizing gene activity
(mRNA) directly in fixed cells or tissues
• Western blotting – analyzes proteins expressed in
tissue
• Immunohistochemistry (IHC) or
Immunocytochemistry (ICC) – labels proteins in
fixed cells or tissues
Slide
1
Northern Blotting
Purpose: Can tell us if a particular gene is being
expressed in a specific cell or tissue type or if
there are changes in levels of expression
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General Procedure:
•Isolate mRNA from cells
•Separate mRNA with gel electrophoresis
•Blot (transfer) the mRNA to a membrane
•Label mRNA you are interested in (probe with a
complementary sequence that binds your mRNA
of interest)
Slide
2
In situ Hybridization
Purpose: Allows us to visualize gene activity
directly in tissues or cells
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General Procedure:
• Tissues may be cut into thin sections or
entire embryo may be adhered to a
microscope slide
• mRNA probes are labeled with a dye or
enzyme that makes a colored precipitate
• Tissues are imaged with a microscope
Slide
3
Western Blotting
Purpose: Detects levels of proteins being
produced in a particular cell or tissue
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General Procedure:
• Isolate proteins
• Separate proteins with gel electrophoresis
• Blot (transfer) the proteins to a membrane
• Label protein you are interested in (antibody
that binds specifically to your protein)
• Bands can tell if protein is present and if
there are different molecular forms of it
Slide
4
Example of Western Blotting
Turkey BR
Turkey NB
Prolactin Isoforms in the Anterior Pituitary of Zebra
Finches
NE EX NE EX NE EX
Breeding
Not
Breeding
Female
Breeding
NE EX
Not
Breeding
Male
Zebra finch anterior pituitaries
The lane on the extreme left is the ladder (mol wt marker). Tissue extracts in the
remaining lanes are labeled with a prolactin antibody. Some birds demonstrate a
second, slightly heavier band of prolactin. Because it is heavier, it migrates
more slowly, and shows prolactin exists in two forms in these birds; the heavier
prolactin has been modified by adding a sugar group.
Slide 5
Microscopy
The idea behind any type of microscopy is to
see inside the tissue and/or cell.
What we see and how well we see it, depend
upon:
1. Type of microscope
2. Tissue preparation
3. Tissue staining
Slide
6
Types of Microscopes
Light Microscope: Resolution of about 0.2mm
Good for routine staining
Fluorescent microscope:
Fluorescent dyes are excited by specific
wavelength of light and re-emit it at higher
wavelengths (lower energy).
(ex: FITC – a very common fluorescent dye –
is excited at 488, emits at 525nm - looks
green)
Filters eliminate stray light, so the image is
sharper
Slide
7
Confocal Microscope
Uses a laser to excite
fluorescent dye in tissue
or cell one spot at a time
Precisely positioned
pinholes allow only infocus light to pass
through
Images in XYZ planes
Computer takes all
images and creates a
3D reconstruction
Slide
8
Confocal Microscope
Confocal microscope:
0.2-0.5mm resolution
3D images can be
obtained
http://www.jneurosci.org/content/vol26/issue
46/images/data/11870/DC1/Fig._12CPBC-3D_animationRuangkittisakul_et_al.mov
Ion movements can be
recorded
]http://www.jneurosci.org/content/vol26/issue
46/images/data/11870/DC1/Fig._12APBC_calcium_oscillationsRuangkittisakul_et_al.mov
Slide
9
Anterior pituitary of a zebra finch.
Cells secreting prolactin appear
red, while those secreting growth
hormone appear green.
An individual cell in the lower
right corner has both hormones
and appears yellow. The dark
“hole” in the middle of the cell is
its nucleus.
From: Christensen, 2007
Tissue Preparation
Fresh tissue is thick, mushy, and opaque.
Also has active enzymes and bacteria that
promote degradation.
3 basic steps:
1. Fixation – stabilizes structure
2. Embedding & sectioning – makes it hard so
we can cut thin slices
3. Staining – provides contrast so we can see
it easier
Slide
10
Histological Techniques
Fixation:
stabilizes structure
stops enzymes
prevents bacterial degradation
(putrefaction)
The most common fixatives cross-link tissue
proteins. An example is formaldehyde.
Slide
11
Embedding & Sectioning
Embedding: Infiltrate tissue with harder
substance that is more easily cut into thin
sections
1. Resin – plastic, used for very thin
sections, 0.5-1µm
2. Paraffin – used for sections >5µm
3. Freezing – used for sections 20-100µm
Slide
12
Sectioning
Paraffin (frozen similar)
1. Sectioned with a rotary microtome
2. Metal or glass knife or razor blade
3. Sections to 1-2 µm thick
Slide
13
Staining
Staining - introduces contrast to tissue which is
otherwise essentially transparent
Common stains: Hematoxylin (looks blue-purple) &
eosin (looks pink-red)
Usually hematoxylin and
eosin are used together
(H&E)
Slide
14
Histochemistry
Can stain DNA & visualize replicating cells
Slide
15
DNA
BRd-U - bromodeoxyuridine - analog of
thymidine, incorporated when DNA replicates
a. Antibody stains labeled cells
b. Can follow time sequence of cell division
Slide
16
Immunohistochemistry (IHC)
Uses antibodies to detect specific molecules in tissue
Disadvantages
1. Time consuming &
expensive
2. Fixation can interfere
with Ab binding
3. Reproducibility - false
positives - cross
reactivity
4. Difficult to get Abs to
small molecules
Advantages
1. High specificity for
molecular species
2. Can be used for light,
confocal, or EM
Slide
17
Immuno methods
1. Direct method - label (dye) is on the antibody
Slide
18
Immuno methods
2. Indirect method - label is on a secondary antibody,
amplifies label.
Primary antibody binds to molecule of interest
Second antibody (labeled with dye) against species
in which primary was raised - eg, goat anti-rabbit
antibody
Slide
19
Labels
Fluorescent dyes - FITC, rhodamine, Cy3, Cy5 different excitation and emission spectra allows
double labeling
Enzymes (horse-radish peroxidase (HRP) or alkaline
phosphatase) give colored precipitate
Slide
20
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