Developing Methods Based on Light Sheet Fluorescence Microscopy for Biophysical Investigations of Larval Zebrafish
MetadataShow full item record
Adapting the tools of optical microscopy to the large-scale dynamic systems encountered in the development of multicellular organisms provides a path toward understanding the physical processes necessary for complex life to form and function. Obtaining quantitatively meaningful results from such systems has been challenging due to difficulty spanning the spatial and temporal scales representative of the whole, while also observing the many individual members from which complex and collective behavior emerges. A three-dimensional imaging technique known as light sheet fluorescence microscopy provides a number of significant benefits for surmounting these challenges and studying developmental systems. A thin plane of fluorescence excitation light is produced such that it coincides with the focal plane of an imaging system, providing rapid acquisition of optically sectioned images that can be used to construct a three-dimensional rendition of a sample. I discuss the implementation of this technique for use in larva of the model vertebrate Danio rerio (zebrafish). The nature of light sheet imaging makes it especially well suited to the study of large systems while maintaining good spatial resolution and minimizing damage to the specimen from excessive exposure to excitation light. I show the results from a comparative study that demonstrates the ability to image certain developmental processes non-destructively, while in contrast confocal microscopy results in abnormal growth due to phototoxicity. I develop the application of light sheet microscopy to the study of a previously inaccessible system: the bacterial colonization of a host organism. Using the technique, we are able to obtain a survey of the intestinal tract of a larval zebrafish and observe the location of microbes as they grow and establish a stable population in an initially germ free fish. Finally, I describe a new technique to measure the fluid viscosity of this intestinal environment in vivo using magnetically driven particles. By imaging such particles as they are oscillated in a frequency chirped field, it is possible to calculate properties such as the viscosity of the material in which they are embedded. Here I provide the first known measurement of intestinal mucus rheology in vivo. This dissertation includes previously published co-authored material.