Multicolor Cell Barcoding Technology for Long-Term Surveillance of Epithelial Regeneration in Zebrafish

Chen Hui Chen, Alberto Puliafito, Ben D. Cox, Luca Primo, Yi Fang, Stefano Di Talia, Kenneth D. Poss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current fate mapping and imaging platforms are limited in their ability to capture dynamic behaviors of epithelial cells. To deconstruct regenerating adult epithelial tissue at single-cell resolution, we created a multicolor system, skinbow, that barcodes the superficial epithelial cell (SEC) population of zebrafish skin with dozens of distinguishable tags. With image analysis to directly segment and simultaneously track hundreds of SECs in vivo over entire surface lifetimes, we readily quantified the orchestration of cell emergence, growth, repositioning, and loss under homeostatic conditions and after exfoliation or appendage amputation. We employed skinbow-based imaging in conjunction with a live reporter of epithelial stem cell cycle activity and as an instrument to evaluate the effects of reactive oxygen species on SEC behavior during epithelial regeneration. Our findings introduce a platform for large-scale, quantitative in vivo imaging of regenerating skin and reveal unanticipated collective dynamism in epithelial cell size, mobility, and interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-680
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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