The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 61: 793 - 800 (2017)

Vol 61, Issue 10-11-12

Special Issue: The Amphioxus Model System

Novel polyclonal antibodies as a useful tool for expression studies in amphioxus embryos

Open Access | Published: 20 December 2017

Matteo Bozzo, Jiri Pergner, Zbynek Kozmik and Iryna Kozmikova*

Laboratory of Transcriptional Regulation, Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic


Cephalochordates, commonly called amphioxus or lancelets, are widely regarded as a useful proxy for the chordate ancestor. In recent decades, expression patterns of important developmental genes have been used extensively to infer homologies between cephalochordate and vertebrate embryos. Such comparisons provided important insight into cephalochordate biology and the origin of vertebrate traits. Most of the developmental expression data are collected using whole-mount in situ hybridization that allows the distributions of specific transcripts to be detected in fixed embryos. Here, we describe an experimental pipeline for production of small amounts of functional antibodies directed against amphioxus antigens for use in immunohistochemical labelling. In this pilot study, we generated antibodies against β-catenin and the transcription factors FoxA, Lhx1, Lhx3 and Pax6. We demonstrate the usefulness of antibodies by performing immunostainings on fixed specimens of B. lanceolatum and B. floridae. We anticipate that amphioxus-specific antibodies will provide a useful tool for high-resolution labelling of individual cells within the embryo and for determining the subcellular localization of the corresponding proteins.


Branchiostoma, amphioxus, antibody, expression pattern

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