Skin regeneration, either after injury or normally to replace dead skin, is difficult to observe at the cellular level. A new system-based on the Brainbow technology that labels individual neurons-genetically color-codes skin cells in zebrafish, allowing researchers to track cell populations in real time. The system, which they call Skinbow, is described in Developmental Cell.
“One of the barriers to studying regeneration has been to visualize it at high resolution, examining what individual cells are doing and what a large number of individual cells are doing collectively,” says senior author Kenneth Poss, a cell biologist at Duke University. “We can catch all of that with this kind of imaging.”
This image shows a dissected zebrafish scale. Surface epithelial cells tagged with Skinbow cover the top half of the scale
Image Credit: Chen et al./Developmental Cell 2016