ZebraFISH: fluorescent in situ hybridization protocol and three-dimensional imaging of gene expression patterns

Monique C M Welten, Simon B de Haan, Niels van den Boogert, Jasprien N Noordermeer, Gerda E M Lamers, Herman P Spaink, Annemarie H Meijer, Fons J Verbeek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


We present a method and protocol for fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in zebrafish embryos to enable three-dimensional imaging of patterns of gene expression using confocal laser scanning microscopy. We describe the development of our protocol and the processing workflow of the three-dimensional images from the confocal microscope. We refer to this protocol as zebraFISH. FISH is based on the use of tyramide signal amplification (TSA), which results in highly sensitive and very localized fluorescent staining. The zebraFISH protocol was extensively tested and here we present a panel of five probes for genes expressed in different tissues or single cells. FISH in combination with confocal laser scanning microscopy provides an excellent tool to generate three-dimensional images of patterns of gene expression. We propose that such three-dimensional images are suitable for building a repository of gene expression patterns, complementary to our previously published three-dimensional anatomical atlas of zebrafish development (bio-imaging.liacs.nl/). Our methodology for image processing of three-dimensional confocal images allows an analytical approach to the definition of gene expression domains based on the three-dimensional anatomical atlas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-76
Number of pages12
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2006


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