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Methods Enzymol 2016 Jan 01;568:635-60. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2015.07.012.
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Using Xenopus Embryos to Study Transcriptional and Posttranscriptional Gene Regulatory Mechanisms of Intermediate Filaments.

Wang C , Szaro BG .

Intermediate filament genes exhibit highly regulated, tissue-specific patterns of expression during development and in response to injury. Identifying the responsible cis-regulatory gene elements thus holds great promise for revealing insights into fundamental gene regulatory mechanisms controlling tissue differentiation and repair. Because much of this regulation occurs in response to signals from surrounding cells, characterizing them requires a model system in which their activity can be tested within the context of an intact organism conveniently. We describe methods for doing so by injecting plasmid DNAs into fertilized Xenopus embryos. A prokaryotic element for site-specific recombination and two dual HS4 insulator elements flanking the reporter gene promote penetrant, promoter-typic expression that persists through early swimming tadpole stages, permitting the observation of fluorescent reporter protein expression in live embryos. In addition to describing cloning strategies for generating these plasmids, we present methods for coinjecting test and reference plasmids to identify the best embryos for analysis, for analyzing reporter protein and RNA expression, and for characterizing the trafficking of expressed reporter RNAs from the nucleus to polysomes. Thus, this system can be used to study the activities of cis-regulatory elements of intermediate filament genes at multiple levels of transcriptional and posttranscriptional control within an intact vertebrate embryo, from early stages of embryogenesis through later stages of organogenesis and tissue differentiation.

PubMed ID: 26795487
Article link: Methods Enzymol