Development

Developmental Dynamics Uncaged

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Science  17 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6070, pp. 777
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6070.777-a
CREDIT: SHESTOPALOV ET AL. NAT. CHEM. BIOL. 8, 10.1038/NCHEMBIO.772 (2012)

Transcription factors are critical for proper gene regulation during development, but they have pleiotropic effects and dynamically regulate the spatial and temporal expression of many target genes. Because of the difficulty of studying this process using conventional methods, Shestopalov et al. devised a method to conditionally regulate the activities of several transcription factors in optically transparent zebrafish embryos. Embryos were injected with caged morpholinos targeting specific transcription factors: The RNA-targeting morpholino's repressive function is blocked initially, but exposure to UV or two-photon infrared light at specific developmental stages in specific cell populations cleaves a linker that then allows the morpholinos to block transcription factor function. Cells were then isolated and subjected to microarray analysis to determine the dynamic transcriptomes during development. As a proof of principle, the authors applied this technology to understand the activities of the No-tail transcription factor (Ntla) in axial tissues at different developmental stages.

Nat. Chem. Biol. 8, 10.1038/nchembio.772 (2012).

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