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Cold Spring Harb Protoc. 2010 Dec 1;2010(12):pdb.prot5541. doi: 10.1101/pdb.prot5541.

Acquisition of 4D DIC microscopic data to determine cell contacts in Caenorhabditis elegans embryos.


The Caenorhabditis elegans embryo is particularly amenable to microscopy and embryological studies because of its short developmental time, transparent shell, and nonpigmented cells. Acquisition of stacks of images throughout the thickness of the embryo over time is a crucial method for identifying the positions and contacts between cells. Such four-dimensional (4D) microscopy is a routine tool in laboratories that study early C. elegans development. Differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy is the focus here because of its broad availability, common use for C. elegans imaging, and wide applicability to microscopic analysis of embryos of other organisms. This protocol describes the use of a custom script within ╬╝Manager's Beanshell scripting language. The script is helpful for reducing the number of shutter open/close events during 4D acquisition.

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