Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Biotechnology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Methodology article

Generation of orientation tools for automated zebrafish screening assays using desktop 3D printing

Jonas N Wittbrodt1, Urban Liebel12 and Jochen Gehrig12*

Author Affiliations

1 Acquifer AG, Karlsruhe, Germany

2 Accelerator Laboratory, Innovation Department, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biotechnology 2014, 14:36  doi:10.1186/1472-6750-14-36

Published: 1 May 2014

Abstract

Background

The zebrafish has been established as the main vertebrate model system for whole organism screening applications. However, the lack of consistent positioning of zebrafish embryos within wells of microtiter plates remains an obstacle for the comparative analysis of images acquired in automated screening assays. While technical solutions to the orientation problem exist, dissemination is often hindered by the lack of simple and inexpensive ways of distributing and duplicating tools.

Results

Here, we provide a cost effective method for the production of 96-well plate compatible zebrafish orientation tools using a desktop 3D printer. The printed tools enable the positioning and orientation of zebrafish embryos within cavities formed in agarose. Their applicability is demonstrated by acquiring lateral and dorsal views of zebrafish embryos arrayed within microtiter plates using an automated screening microscope. This enables the consistent visualization of morphological phenotypes and reporter gene expression patterns.

Conclusions

The designs are refined versions of previously demonstrated devices with added functionality and strongly reduced production costs. All corresponding 3D models are freely available and digital design can be easily shared electronically. In combination with the increasingly widespread usage of 3D printers, this provides access to the developed tools to a wide range of zebrafish users. Finally, the design files can serve as templates for other additive and subtractive fabrication methods.

Keywords:
Orientation tool; 3D printing; Zebrafish screening; High content screening