Quantitative studies of embryogenesis require the ability to monitor pattern formation and morphogenesis in large numbers of embryos, at multiple time points and in diverse genetic backgrounds. We describe a simple approach that greatly facilitates these tasks for Drosophila melanogaster embryos, one of the most advanced models of developmental genetics. Based on passive hydrodynamics, we developed a microfluidic embryo-trap array that can be used to rapidly order and vertically orient hundreds of embryos. We describe the physical principles of the design and used this platform to quantitatively analyze multiple morphogen gradients in the dorsoventral patterning system. Our approach can also be used for live imaging and, with slight modifications, could be adapted for studies of pattern formation and morphogenesis in other model organisms.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We acknowledge A. Boettiger and M. Levine (University of California, Berkeley) for the antibody to Twist, M. Zhan for technical assistance, A. Boettiger, A. Erives, M. Levine, J. Lippincott-Schwartz, C. Rushlow, M. Serpe and R. Steward for helpful discussions, and M. Osterfield for assistance with live imaging. This work was supported by National Science Foundation (DBI-0649833 to H.L.) and National Institutes of Health grants NS058465 (to H.L.) and GM078079 (to S.Y.S.). H.L. is supported by a Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship and a DuPont Young Professor grant.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology