We have recently constructed a web-based database of gene expression in the mouse whole embryo, EMBRYS (http://embrys.jp/embrys/html/MainMenu.html). To allow examination of gene expression patterns to the fullest extent possible, this database provides both photo images and annotation data. However, since embryos develop via an intricate process of morphogenesis, it would be of great value to track embryonic gene expression from a three dimensional perspective. In fact, several methods have been developed to achieve this goal, but highly laborious procedures and specific operational skills are generally required. We utilized a novel microscopic technique that enables the easy capture of rotational, 3D-like images of the whole embryo. In this method, a rotary head equipped with two mirrors that are designed to obtain an image tilted at 45 degrees to the microscope stage captures serial images at 2-degree intervals. By a simple operation, 180 images are automatically collected. These 2D images obtained at multiple angles are then used to reconstruct 3D-like images, termed AERO images. By means of this system, over 800 AERO images of 191 gene expression patterns were captured. These images can be easily rotated on the computer screen using the EMBRYS database so that researchers can view an entire embryo by a virtual viewing on a computer screen in an unbiased or non-predetermined manner. The advantages afforded by this approach make it especially useful for generating data viewed in public databases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences