All-age whole mount in situ hybridization to reveal larval and juvenile expression patterns in zebrafish
The zebrafish Danio rerio is a valuable and common model for scientists in the fields of genetics and developmental biology. Since zebrafish are also amenable to genetic manipulation, modelling of human diseases or behavioral experiments have moved into the focus of zebrafish research. Consequently, gene expression data beyond embryonic and larval stages become more important, yet there is a dramatic knowledge gap of gene expression beyond day four of development. Like in other model organisms, the visualization of spatial and temporal gene expression by whole mount in situ hybridization (ISH) becomes increasingly difficult when zebrafish embryos develop further and hence the growing tissues become dense and less permeable. Here we introduce a modified method for whole mount ISH, which overcomes these penetration and detection problem. The method is an all in one solution that enables the detection and visualization of gene expression patterns up to the late larval stage in a 3D manner without the need for tissue sectioning and offers a valuable extension for whole mount ISH by immunohistochemistry in the zebrafish field.