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Zebrafish Muscle Development
Photo credit: Dr. Clarissa Henry

This is a photo taken by Dr. Clarissa Henry with a Zeiss Confocal microscope and was originally published in the journal Developmental Biology. The image shows fluorescent stains used to visualize zebrafish skeletal muscle tissue. Skeletal muscle fibers (red) attach to the extracellular matrix (green) of the nascent tendon. The Henry lab uses genetic, cell biological, and molecular techniques to study how muscle cells adhere to extracellular matrix during primary muscle development. Zebrafish embryos have approximately 30 repeating segments of skeletal muscle fibers separated by nascent tendons (3 segments are shown in the image) and are an ideal model in which to manipulate muscle-extracellular matrix adhesions to strengthen or weaken them. Understanding how to strengthen these adhesions in a living animal is important because many muscle diseases currently do not have cures and are caused by weakened adhesions between muscle cells and their extracellular matrix.

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