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Compresstome for Cutting Crustaceans

Published on April 18, 2022
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Research in Crustaceans

Every once in a while, we get questions from research scientists asking if our Compresstome vibrating microtome can cut crustaceans. Crustaceans?! Yep, we really mean tissue slicing invertebrates like shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. There are several outstanding areas in basic sciences research using crustaceans as an animal model, including studies in physiology, neurobiology (including electrophysiology!), and anatomy.

Latest Crustacean Publication with Compresstome

We would like to share with you the latest publication using crustacean tissue reported in Scientific Reports. You can read the entire original article here. The research group led by Dr. Tamara Frank at Nova Southeastern University studies visual physiology of deep-sea animals. In their recent March 2020 publication, they performed groundbreaking experiments on extraocular photoreception, or the ability to detect and respond to light outside of the eye, in deep-sea shrimp. The crustacean species Janicella spinicauda have photophores, which are complex organs composed of bioluminescent cells (photocytes). Why are photophores important? These cells can provide a type of camouflage known as counterillumination—in other words, these shrimp can use photophores to make themselves less detectable by predators below. Take a look at Figure 1 to see what Janicella spinicauda look like and where the photocyte cells are located.

Research in Crustaceans: Lateral view of Janicella spinicauda
Figure 1. Lateral view of Janicella spinicauda

Dr. Frank’s team used in situ hybridization (ISH), immunohistochemistry (IHC), and shipboard light-exposure experiments to test photosensitivity in shrimp. Their ISH and IHC experiments were done in shrimp sectioned with the Precisionary Compresstome VF-300 (blade advance speed: 8; oscillation: 3). Here are some staining results from their publication:

Research in Crustaceans: LWS mRNA diagram
Figure 2: (A) shows LWS mRNA (red) labeling throughout maxilliped photophore cell bodies; (B) and (C) show Gq protein localization (purple) in the apex of photophore cells proximal to luminescent paracrystalline bodies with cell nuclei (green). LWS: long-wave sensitive clade.

So if you are a crustacean researcher, let us know! We’re so excited to explore new avenues of research where our tissue slicers are used.

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