Microtubule dynamics can be imaged in real time in the zebrafish embryo using a doublecortin-GFP transgenic line. The colored dots correspond to the tips of individual microtubules.
Formation of the neural tube is mediated by polarized cell movements, the ability of neural cells to migrate in a directional manner. A major research project in the Brewster laboratory focuses on understanding the role of microtubules in polarized cell movement during neurulation. Regulation of microtubule stability is essential for this process, as genetic or pharmacological perturbation of microtubules prevents neural tube formation. We are currently investigating the molecular pathways that regulate microtubule stability and developing tools to image and quantify microtubule dynamics in real time in the zebrafish embryo.