Laboratory for Applications of Synchrotron Radiation (LAS)


Heidelberg-Karlsruhe Research Partnership: Three-dimensional imaging of gene expression patterns by x-ray computed tomography

This project aims to visualize gene expression in large and opaque biological samples by means of X-ray contrast – combining knowledge of traditional molecular biology and physics.


A common downside of established imaging techniques like light sheet microscopy, multi-photon microscopy or electron microscopy is that specimens have to be transparent and of relatively small dimensions. Due to these limitations, mechanical sectioning of organs or tissues is required for imaging. The current project allow new approaches for the study of gene expression by giving a general, automated high-throughput method which delivers complete 3-D expression data with a resolution down to the subcellular level, achievable even in large specimens, including up to complete animals, without the need for any sectioning or mechanical manipulation. The project focuses on standard GFP-tagged reporter lines of Medaka and zebrafish and will demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed imaging techniques by addressing visualization of known stem cell markers in adult Medaka organs, such as rx2 in the retina and sox9b in the intestine.