Planarian Ovary Dissection for Ultrastructural Analysis and Antibody Staining
Guo F, McClain M, Zhao X, Yi K, Parmely T, Unruh J, Slaughter B, Kruglyak L, Guo L, Sánchez Alvarado A.
Accessibility to germ cells allows the study of germ cell development, meiosis, and recombination. The sexual biotype of the freshwater planarian, Schmidtea mediterranea, is a powerful invertebrate model to study the epigenetic specification of germ cells. Unlike the large number of testis and male germ cells, planarian oocytes are relatively difficult to locate and examine, as there are only two ovaries, each with 5-20 oocytes. Deeper localization within the planarian body and lack of protective epithelial tissues also make it challenging to dissect planarian ovaries directly. This protocol uses a brief fixation step to facilitate the localization and dissection of planarian ovaries for downstream analysis to overcome these difficulties. The dissected ovary is compatible for ultrastructural examination by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and antibody immunostaining. The dissection technique outlined in this protocol also allows for gene perturbation experiments, in which the ovaries are examined under different RNA interference (RNAi) conditions. Direct access to the intact germ cells in the ovary achieved by this protocol will greatly improve the imaging depth and quality and allow cellular and subcellular interrogation of oocyte biology.