Whole-mount imaging of mouse embryo sensory axon projections Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Axons
  • Embryo Culture Techniques
  • Ganglia, Spinal
  • Neurons
  • Staining and Labeling


  • The visualization of full-length neuronal projections in embryos is essential to gain an understanding of how mammalian neuronal networks develop. Here we describe a method to label in situ a subset of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) axon projections to assess their phenotypic characteristics using several genetically manipulated mouse lines. The TrkA-positive neurons are nociceptor neurons, dedicated to the transmission of pain signals. We utilize a TrkA(taulacZ) mouse line to label the trajectories of all TrkA-positive peripheral axons in the intact mouse embryo. We further breed the TrkA(taulacZ) line onto a Bax null background, which essentially abolishes neuronal apoptosis, in order to assess growth-related questions independently of possible effects of genetic manipulations on neuronal survival. Subsequently, genetically modified mice of interest are bred with the TrkA(taulacZ)/Bax null line and are then ready for study using the techniques described herein. This presentation includes detailed information on mouse breeding plans, genotyping at the time of dissection, tissue preparation, staining and clearing to allow for visualization of full-length axonal trajectories in whole-mount preparation.

publication date

  • December 9, 2014



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC4299441

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3791/52212

PubMed ID

  • 25549235

Additional Document Info


  • 94