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J Immunol Methods. 2000 Jun 23;240(1-2):15-22.

Detection of mRNAs in Peyer's patches of the developing mouse embryo.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.


We describe a method to identify cells expressing mRNA of interest in the developing digestive tract by whole mount in situ hybridization with digoxigenin-labeled RNA probes. In preparing samples, serosal tissue surrounding the intestine was removed. Enzymatic reactions and probe concentrations were optimized. Furthermore, polyvinyl alcohol was included in the reaction mixture for the color development of alkaline phosphatase conjugated to the antibody against digoxigenin. These modifications improved the sensitivity and enabled us to identity cells that express mRNA in embryonic intestine. Using the antisense probe for VCAM-1, the protein product of which is an immunohistochemical marker of the Peyer's patch in the embryonic intestine, cells expressing mRNA were identified as spot-like clusters in Peyer's patches, confirming the validity of the method. With this method, mRNAs of both lymphotoxins alpha and beta, key molecules for peripheral lymphoid organ development, were found to be confined to the Peyer's patch in the developing intestine. Whole mount in situ hybridization analysis is a useful tool for exploring spatio-temporal expression profiles of mRNA in the developing immune organs.

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