Methods in Brain Development of Molluscs

Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2047)


Representatives of the phylum Mollusca have long been important models in neurobiological research. Recently, the routine application of immunocytochemistry and gene expression analyses in combination with confocal laserscanning microscopy has allowed fast generation of highly detailed reconstructions of neural structures of even the smallest multicellular animals, including early developmental stages. As a consequence, large-scale comparative analyses of neurogenesis—an important prerequisite for inferences concerning the evolution of animal nervous systems—are now possible in a reasonable amount of time. Herein, we describe immunocytochemical staining and in situ hybridization protocols for both, whole-mount preparations of developmental stages—usually 70–300 μm in size—as well as for vibratome and cryostat sections of complex brains. Although our procedures have been optimized for marine molluscs, they may easily be adapted to other (marine) organisms by the creative neurobiologist.


Immunocytochemistry Fluorescence Antibody staining Neurogenesis Vibratome section Gene expression Complexity Cephalopod Brain Lophotrochozoa In situ hybridization 



This work was supported by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund) grant P24276-B22 to A.W. T.W. acknowledges support by the FWF (J-4198—Schrödinger fellowship) and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg. We thank Emanuel Redl (University of Vienna) for critical comments on an earlier version of this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Integrative Zoology, Faculty of Life SciencesUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.European Molecular Biology LaboratoryHeidelbergGermany

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