Biological Procedures Online

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 149–156 | Cite as

Visualizing the needle in the haystack: In situ hybridization with fluorescent dendrimers

  • Jacquelyn GerhartEmail author
  • Michael Baytion
  • Jordanna Perlman
  • Christine Neely
  • Bridget Hearon
  • Thor Nilsen
  • Robert Getts
  • James Kadushin
  • Mindy George-Weinstein
Open Access


In situ hybridization with 3DNA™ dendrimers is a novel tool for detecting low levels of mRNA in tissue sections and whole embryos. Fluorescently labeled dendrimers were used to identify cells that express mRNA for the skeletal muscle transcription factor MyoD in the early chick embryo. A small population of MyoD mRNA positive cells was found in the epiblast prior to the initiation of gastrulation, two days earlier than previously detected using enzymatic or radiolabeled probes for mRNA. When isolated from the epiblast and placed in culture, the MyoD mRNA positive cells were able to differentiate into skeletal muscle cells. These results demonstrate that DNA dendrimers are sensitive and precise tools for identifying low levels of mRNA in single cells and tissues.

Indexing terms

MyoD protein In situ hybridization 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacquelyn Gerhart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael Baytion
    • 2
  • Jordanna Perlman
    • 3
  • Christine Neely
    • 1
  • Bridget Hearon
    • 4
  • Thor Nilsen
    • 5
  • Robert Getts
    • 5
  • James Kadushin
    • 5
  • Mindy George-Weinstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyPhiladelphia College of Osteopathic MedicinePhiladelphia
  2. 2.Art Center College of DesignPasadena
  3. 3.Western University of the Health SciencesChino Hills
  4. 4.Bryn Mawr CollegeBryn Mawr
  5. 5.Genisphere, Inc.Hatfield

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