Live Imaging of the Neural Crest Cell Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition in the Chick Embryo

Mary Cathleen McKinney, Paul M Kulesa
Methods in Molecular Biology 2021, 2179: 107-114
Live embryo imaging may provide a wealth of information on intact cell and tissue dynamics, but can be technically challenging to sustain embryo orientation and health for long periods under a microscope. In this protocol, we describe an in vivo method to mount and image cell movements during the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) of neural crest cells within the chick dorsal neural tube. We focus on describing the collection of images and data preparation for image analysis throughout the developmental stages HH15-21 in the chick trunk. Trunk neural crest cell EMT is crucial to development of the peripheral nervous system and pigment cell patterning. The methods we describe may also be applied to other cell and tissue phenomena at various chick developmental stages with some modifications.

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