Use of Larval Zebrafish Model to Study Within-Host Infection Dynamics

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1736)


Investigating bacterial dynamics within the infected host has proved very useful for understanding mechanisms of pathogenesis. Here we present the protocols we use to study bacterial dynamics within infected embryonic zebrafish. This chapter encompasses basic techniques used to study bacterial infection within larval zebrafish, including embryonic zebrafish maintenance, injections of morpholino oligonucleotides, intravenous injections of bacterial suspensions, and fluorescence imaging of infected zebrafish. Specific methods for studying bacterial within-host population dynamics are also described.

Key words

Zebrafish Infection Bacterial population dynamics Fluorescence microscopy 


  1. 1.
    Torraca V, Masud S, Spaink HP, Meijer AH (2014) Macrophage-pathogen interactions in infectious diseases: new therapeutic insights from the zebrafish host model. Dis Model Mech 7:785–797CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Henry KM, Loynes CA, Whyte MK, Renshaw SA (2013) Zebrafish as a model for the study of neutrophil biology. J Leukoc Biol 94:633–642CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Prajsnar TK, Cunliffe VT, Foster SJ, Renshaw SA (2008) A novel vertebrate model of Staphylococcus aureus infection reveals phagocyte-dependent resistance of zebrafish to non-host specialized pathogens. Cell Microbiol 10:2312–2325CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Prajsnar TK, Renshaw SA, Ogryzko NV, Foster SJ, Serror P, Mesnage S (2013) Zebrafish as a novel vertebrate model to dissect enterococcal pathogenesis. Infect Immun 81:4271–4279CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Schulte-Merker S, Stainier DYR (2014) Out with the old, in with the new: reassessing morpholino knockdowns in light of genome editing technology. Development 141:3103–3104CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Grant AJ, Restif O, McKinley TJ, Sheppard M, Maskell DJ, Mastroeni P (2008) Modelling within-host spatiotemporal dynamics of invasive bacterial disease. PLoS Biol 6:e74CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Prajsnar TK, Hamilton R, Garcia-Lara J, McVicker G, Williams A, Boots M, Foster SJ, Renshaw SA (2012) A privileged intraphagocyte niche is responsible for disseminated infection of Staphylococcus aureus in a zebrafish model. Cell Microbiol 14:1600–1619CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McVicker G, Prajsnar TK, Williams A, Wagner NL, Boots M, Renshaw SA, Foster SJ (2014) Clonal expansion during Staphylococcus aureus infection dynamics reveals the effect of antibiotic intervention. PLoS Pathog 10:e1003959CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Krebs InstituteUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Biology and BiotechnologyUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  3. 3.Bateson CentreUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  4. 4.Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular DiseaseUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations