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In Biology open

Zebrafish provide a unique opportunity for drug screening in living animals, with the fast developing, transparent embryos allowing for relatively high-throughput, microscopy-based screens. However, the limited availability of rapid, flexible imaging and analysis platforms has limited the use of zebrafish in drug screens. We have developed an easy-to-use, customisable automated screening procedure suitable for high-throughput phenotype-based screens of live zebrafish. We utilised the WiScan® Hermes High Content Imaging System to rapidly acquire brightfield and fluorescent images of embryos, and the WiSoft® Athena Zebrafish Application for analysis, which harnesses an Artificial Intelligence-driven algorithm to automatically detect fish in brightfield images, identify anatomical structures, partition the animal into regions, and exclusively select the desired side-oriented fish. Our initial validation combined structural analysis with fluorescence images to enumerate GFP-tagged haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in the tails of embryos, which correlated with manual counts. We further validated this system to assess the effects of genetic mutations and x-ray irradiation in high content using a wide range of assays. Further, we performed simultaneous analysis of multiple cell types using dual fluorophores in high throughput. In summary, we demonstrate a broadly applicable and rapidly customisable platform for high-content screening in zebrafish.

Lubin Alexandra, Otterstrom Jason, Hoade Yvette, Bjedov Ivana, Stead Eleanor, Whelan Matthew, Gestri Gaia, Paran Yael, Payne Elspeth

2021-Jul-09

Drug screening, High-throughput, Zebrafish