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1.  Lessons from morpholino-based screening in zebrafish 
Briefings in Functional Genomics  2011;10(4):181-188.
Morpholino oligonucleotides (MOs) are an effective, gene-specific antisense knockdown technology used in many model systems. Here we describe the application of MOs in zebrafish (Danio rerio) for in vivo functional characterization of gene activity. We summarize our screening experience beginning with gene target selection. We then discuss screening parameter considerations and data and database management. Finally, we emphasize the importance of off-target effect management and thorough downstream phenotypic validation. We discuss current morpholino limitations, including reduced stability when stored in aqueous solution. Advances in MO technology now provide a measure of spatiotemporal control over MO activity, presenting the opportunity for incorporating more finely tuned analyses into MO-based screening. Therefore, with careful management, MOs remain a valuable tool for discovery screening as well as individual gene knockdown analysis.
doi:10.1093/bfgp/elr021
PMCID: PMC3144740  PMID: 21746693
morpholinos; zebrafish; knockdown
2.  EXPRESSION OF SCLEROSTIN IN THE DEVELOPING ZEBRAFISH (DANIO) BRAIN AND SKELETON 
Gene expression patterns : GEP  2012;12(7-8):228-235.
Sclerostin is a highly conserved, secreted, cystine-knot protein which regulates osteoblast function. Humans with mutations in the sclerostin gene (SOST), manifest increased axial and appendicular skeletal bone density with attendant complications. In adult bone, sclerostin is expressed in osteocytes and osteoblasts. Danio rerio sclerostin-like protein is closely related to sea bass sclerostin, and is related to chicken and mammalian sclerostins. Little is known about the expression of sclerostin in early developing skeletal or extra-skeletal tissues. We assessed sclerostin (sost) gene expression in developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos with whole mount is situ hybridization methods. The earliest expression of sost RNA was noted during 12 hours post-fertilization (hpf). At 15 hpf, sost RNA was detected in the developing nervous system and in Kupffer’s vesicle. At 18, 20 and 22 hpf, expression in rhombic lip precursors was seen. By 24 hpf, expression in the upper and lower rhombic lip and developing spinal cord was noted. Expression in the rhombic lip and spinal cord persisted through 28 hpf and then diminished in intensity through 44 hpf. At 28 hpf, sost expression was noted in developing pharyngeal cartilage; expression in pharyngeal cartilage increased with time. By 48 hpf, sost RNA was clearly detected in the developing pharyngeal arch cartilage. Sost RNA was abundantly expressed in the pharyngeal arch cartilage, and in developing pectoral fins, 72, 96 and 120 hpf. Our study is the first detailed analysis of sost gene expression in early metazoan development.
doi:10.1016/j.gep.2012.04.003
PMCID: PMC3435489  PMID: 22575304
Sclerostin; sost; skeleton; cartilage; brain
3.  In vivo Genome Editing Using High Efficiency TALENs 
Nature  2012;491(7422):114-118.
The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly being used to study basic vertebrate biology and human disease using a rich array of in vivo genetic and molecular tools. However, the inability to readily modify the genome in a targeted fashion has been a bottleneck in the field. Here we show that improvements in artificial transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) provide a powerful new approach for targeted zebrafish genome editing and functional genomic applications1–5. Using the GoldyTALEN modified scaffold and zebrafish delivery system, we show this enhanced TALEN toolkit demonstrates a high efficiency in inducing locus-specific DNA breaks in somatic and germline tissues. At some loci, this efficacy approaches 100%, including biallelic conversion in somatic tissues that mimics phenotypes seen using morpholino (MO)-based targeted gene knockdowns6. With this updated TALEN system, we successfully used single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) oligonucleotides (oligos) to precisely modify sequences at predefined locations in the zebrafish genome through homology-directed repair (HDR), including the introduction of a custom-designed EcoRV site and a modified loxP (mloxP) sequence into somatic tissue in vivo. We further show successful germline transmission of both EcoRV and mloxP engineered chromosomes. This combined approach offers the potential to model genetic variation as well as to generate targeted conditional alleles.
doi:10.1038/nature11537
PMCID: PMC3491146  PMID: 23000899
zebrafish; TALEN; genome engineering; loxP
4.  in vivo protein trapping produces a functional expression codex of the vertebrate proteome 
Nature Methods  2011;8(6):506-515.
We describe a conditional in vivo protein trap mutagenesis system that reveals spatio-temporal protein expression dynamics and assesses gene function in the vertebrate Danio rerio. Integration of pGBT-RP2 (RP2), a gene-breaking transposon containing a protein trap, efficiently disrupts gene expression with >97% knockdown of normal transcript levels while simultaneously reporting protein expression of each locus. The mutant alleles are revertible in somatic tissues via Cre recombinase or splice-site blocking morpholinos, thus representing the first systematic conditional mutant alleles outside the mouse model. We report a collection of 350 zebrafish lines including a diverse array of molecular loci. RP2 integrations reveal the complexity of genomic architecture and gene function in a living organism and can provide information on protein subcellular localization. The RP2 mutagenesis system is a step towards a unified codex of protein expression and direct functional annotation of the vertebrate genome.
doi:10.1038/nmeth.1606
PMCID: PMC3306164  PMID: 21552255
5.  SCORE Imaging: Specimen in a Corrected Optical Rotational Enclosure 
Zebrafish  2010;7(2):149-154.
Abstract
Visual data collection is paramount for the majority of scientific research. The added transparency of the zebrafish (Danio rerio) allows for a greater detail of complex biological research that accompanies seemingly simple observational tools. We developed a visual data analysis and collection approach that takes advantage of the cylindrical nature of the zebrafish allowing for an efficient and effective method for image capture that we call Specimen in a Corrected Optical Rotational Enclosure imaging. To achieve a nondistorted image, zebrafish were placed in a fluorinated ethylene propylene tube with a surrounding optically corrected imaging solution (water). By similarly matching the refractive index of the housing (fluorinated ethylene propylene tubing) to that of the inner liquid and outer liquid (water), distortion was markedly reduced, producing a crisp imagable specimen that is able to be fully rotated 360°. A similar procedure was established for fixed zebrafish embryos using convenient, readily available borosilicate capillaries surrounded by 75% glycerol. The method described here could be applied to chemical genetic screening and other related high-throughput methods within the fish community and among other scientific fields.
doi:10.1089/zeb.2010.0660
PMCID: PMC3117241  PMID: 20528262

Results 1-5 (5)