Publications by authors named "Marcus P S Dekens"

9 Publications

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A versatile depigmentation, clearing, and labeling method for exploring nervous system diversity.

Sci Adv 2020 May 29;6(22):eaba0365. Epub 2020 May 29.

Department for Bioelectronics, FKE, Vienna University of Technology, Gußhausstraße 25-25A, building CH, 1040 Vienna, Austria.

Tissue clearing combined with deep imaging has emerged as a powerful alternative to classical histological techniques. Whereas current techniques have been optimized for imaging selected nonpigmented organs such as the mammalian brain, natural pigmentation remains challenging for most other biological specimens of larger volume. We have developed a fast DEpigmEntation-Plus-Clearing method (DEEP-Clear) that is easily incorporated in existing workflows and combines whole system labeling with a spectrum of detection techniques, ranging from immunohistochemistry to RNA in situ hybridization, labeling of proliferative cells (EdU labeling) and visualization of transgenic markers. With light-sheet imaging of whole animals and detailed confocal studies on pigmented organs, we provide unprecedented insight into eyes, whole nervous systems, and subcellular structures in animal models ranging from worms and squids to axolotls and zebrafish. DEEP-Clear thus paves the way for the exploration of species-rich clades and developmental stages that are largely inaccessible by regular imaging approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aba0365DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7259959PMC
May 2020

Instrument design and protocol for the study of light controlled processes in aquatic organisms, and its application to examine the effect of infrared light on zebrafish.

PLoS One 2017 17;12(2):e0172038. Epub 2017 Feb 17.

Max Perutz Laboratories, Vienna Biocenter, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The acquisition of reliable data strongly depends on experimental design. When studying the effects of light on processes such as behaviour and physiology it is crucial to maintain all environmental conditions constant apart from the one under study. Furthermore, the precise values of the environmental factors applied during the experiment should be known. Although seemingly obvious, these conditions are often not met when the effects of light are being studied. Here, we document and discuss the wavelengths and light intensities of natural and artificial light sources. We present standardised experimental protocols together with building plans of a custom made instrument designed to accurately control light and temperature for experiments using fresh water or marine species. Infrared light is commonly used for recording behaviour and in electrophysiological experiments although the properties of fish photoreceptors potentially allow detection into the far red. As an example of our experimental procedure we have applied our protocol and instrument to specifically test the impact of infrared light (840 nm) on the zebrafish circadian clock, which controls many aspects of behaviour, physiology and metabolism. We demonstrate that infrared light does not influence the zebrafish circadian clock. Our results help to provide a solid framework for the future study of light dependent processes in aquatic organisms.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0172038PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315407PMC
August 2017

Thyrotroph embryonic factor regulates light-induced transcription of repair genes in zebrafish embryonic cells.

PLoS One 2010 Sep 7;5(9):e12542. Epub 2010 Sep 7.

Genomics Core Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany.

Numerous responses are triggered by light in the cell. How the light signal is detected and transduced into a cellular response is still an enigma. Each zebrafish cell has the capacity to directly detect light, making this organism particularly suitable for the study of light dependent transcription. To gain insight into the light signalling mechanism we identified genes that are activated by light exposure at an early embryonic stage, when specialised light sensing organs have not yet formed. We screened over 14,900 genes using micro-array GeneChips, and identified 19 light-induced genes that function primarily in light signalling, stress response, and DNA repair. Here we reveal that PAR Response Elements are present in all promoters of the light-induced genes, and demonstrate a pivotal role for the PAR bZip transcription factor Thyrotroph embryonic factor (Tef) in regulating the majority of light-induced genes. We show that tefbeta transcription is directly regulated by light while transcription of tefalpha is under circadian clock control at later stages of development. These data leads us to propose their involvement in light-induced UV tolerance in the zebrafish embryo.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0012542PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2935359PMC
September 2010

Autonomous onset of the circadian clock in the zebrafish embryo.

EMBO J 2008 Oct 18;27(20):2757-65. Epub 2008 Sep 18.

Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, London, UK.

On the first day of development a circadian clock becomes functional in the zebrafish embryo. How this oscillator is set in motion remains unclear. We demonstrate that zygotic period1 transcription begins independent of light exposure. Pooled embryos maintained in darkness and under constant temperature show elevated non-oscillating levels of period1 expression. Consequently, there is no maternal effect or developmental event that sets the phase of the circadian clock. Analysis of period1 transcription, at the cellular level in the absence of environmental stimuli, reveals oscillations in cells that are asynchronous within the embryo. Demonstrating an autonomous onset to rhythmic period1 expression. Transcription of clock1 and bmal1 is rhythmic in the adult, but constant during development in light-entrained embryos. Transient expression of dominant-negative DeltaCLOCK blocks period1 transcription, thus showing that endogenous CLOCK is essential for the transcriptional regulation of period1 in the embryo. We demonstrate a default mechanism in the embryo that initiates the autonomous onset of the circadian clock. This embryonic clock is differentially regulated from that in the adult, the transition coinciding with the appearance of several clock output processes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2008.183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2572168PMC
October 2008

Large-scale mapping of mutations affecting zebrafish development.

BMC Genomics 2007 Jan 9;8:11. Epub 2007 Jan 9.

Department 3--Genetics, Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Spemannstr, 35/III, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Background: Large-scale mutagenesis screens in the zebrafish employing the mutagen ENU have isolated several hundred mutant loci that represent putative developmental control genes. In order to realize the potential of such screens, systematic genetic mapping of the mutations is necessary. Here we report on a large-scale effort to map the mutations generated in mutagenesis screening at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology by genome scanning with microsatellite markers.

Results: We have selected a set of microsatellite markers and developed methods and scoring criteria suitable for efficient, high-throughput genome scanning. We have used these methods to successfully obtain a rough map position for 319 mutant loci from the Tübingen I mutagenesis screen and subsequent screening of the mutant collection. For 277 of these the corresponding gene is not yet identified. Mapping was successful for 80 % of the tested loci. By comparing 21 mutation and gene positions of cloned mutations we have validated the correctness of our linkage group assignments and estimated the standard error of our map positions to be approximately 6 cM.

Conclusion: By obtaining rough map positions for over 300 zebrafish loci with developmental phenotypes, we have generated a dataset that will be useful not only for cloning of the affected genes, but also to suggest allelism of mutations with similar phenotypes that will be identified in future screens. Furthermore this work validates the usefulness of our methodology for rapid, systematic and inexpensive microsatellite mapping of zebrafish mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-8-11DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1781435PMC
January 2007

Identification of recessive maternal-effect mutations in the zebrafish using a gynogenesis-based method.

Dev Dyn 2004 Oct;231(2):324-35

Max-Plank Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung Genetik, Tübingen, Germany.

In animal species, early developmental processes are driven by maternally derived factors. Here, we describe a forward genetics approach to identify recessive mutations in genes encoding such maternal factors in the zebrafish. We used a gynogenesis-based approach to identify 14 recessive maternal-effect mutations. Homozygosity for these mutations in adult females leads to the inviability of their offspring. Confocal microscopy of embryos labeled with a DNA dye and a membrane marker allowed us to further analyze mutant embryos for defects in nuclear and cellular divisions. The mutations result in a range of defects in early developmental processes, including egg activation, early nuclear events, mitosis, cytokinesis, axial patterning, and gastrulation. Our effort constitutes a systematic attempt to identify maternal-effect genes in a vertebrate species. The sample of mutations that we have identified reflects the diversity of maternally driven functions in early development and underscores the importance of maternal factors in this process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dvdy.20145DOI Listing
October 2004

Light regulates the cell cycle in zebrafish.

Curr Biol 2003 Dec;13(23):2051-7

Max-Planck Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Spemannstrasse 35-39, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

The timing of cell proliferation is a key factor contributing to the regulation of normal growth. Daily rhythms of cell cycle progression have been documented in a wide range of organisms. However, little is known about how environmental, humoral, and cell-autonomous factors contribute to these rhythms. Here, we demonstrate that light plays a key role in cell cycle regulation in the zebrafish. Exposure of larvae to light-dark (LD) cycles causes a range of different cell types to enter S phase predominantly at the end of the day. When larvae are raised in constant darkness (DD), a low level of arrhythmic S phase is observed. In addition, light-entrained cell cycle rhythms persist for several days after transfer to DD, both observations pointing to the involvement of the circadian clock. We show that the number of LD cycles experienced is essential for establishing this rhythm during larval development. Furthermore, we reveal that the same phenomenon exists in a zebrafish cell line. This represents the first example of a vertebrate cell culture system where circadian rhythms of the cell cycle are observed. Thus, we implicate the cell-autonomous circadian clock in the regulation of the vertebrate cell cycle by light.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2003.10.022DOI Listing
December 2003

cdx4 mutants fail to specify blood progenitors and can be rescued by multiple hox genes.

Nature 2003 Sep;425(6955):300-6

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Organogenesis is dependent on the formation of distinct cell types within the embryo. Important to this process are the hox genes, which are believed to confer positional identities to cells along the anteroposterior axis. Here, we have identified the caudal-related gene cdx4 as the locus mutated in kugelig (kgg), a zebrafish mutant with an early defect in haematopoiesis that is associated with abnormal anteroposterior patterning and aberrant hox gene expression. The blood deficiency in kgg embryos can be rescued by overexpressing hoxb7a or hoxa9a but not hoxb8a, indicating that the haematopoietic defect results from perturbations in specific hox genes. Furthermore, the haematopoietic defect in kgg mutants is not rescued by scl overexpression, suggesting that cdx4 and hox genes act to make the posterior mesoderm competent for blood development. Overexpression of cdx4 during zebrafish development or in mouse embryonic stem cells induces blood formation and alters hox gene expression. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that cdx4 regulates hox genes and is necessary for the specification of haematopoietic cell fate during vertebrate embryogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature01973DOI Listing
September 2003

The maternal-effect gene futile cycle is essential for pronuclear congression and mitotic spindle assembly in the zebrafish zygote.

Development 2003 Sep;130(17):3907-16

Max-Planck Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung Genetik, Spemannstrasse 35, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Embryos have been successfully used for the general study of the cell cycle. Although there are significant differences between the early embryonic and the somatic cell cycle in vertebrates, the existence of specialised factors that play a role during the early cell cycles has remained elusive. We analysed a lethal recessive maternal-effect mutant, futile cycle (fue), isolated in a maternal-effect screen for nuclear division defects in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). The pronuclei fail to congress in zygotes derived from homozygous fue mothers. In addition, a defect in the formation of chromosomal microtubules prevents mitotic spindle assembly and thus chromosome segregation in fue zygotes. However, centrosomal functions do not appear to be affected in fue embryos, suggesting this mutant blocks a subset of microtubule functions. Cleavage occurs normally for several divisions resulting in many anucleate cells, thus showing that nuclear- and cell division can be uncoupled genetically. Therefore, we propose that in mitotic spindle assembly chromosome-dependent microtubule nucleation is essential for the coupling of nuclear and cell division.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.00606DOI Listing
September 2003
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