alexa Conditional targeted cell ablation in zebrafish: a new tool for regeneration studies.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Human Genetics & Embryology

Author(s): Curado S, Anderson RM, Jungblut B, Mumm J, Schroeter E,

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Abstract Conditional targeted cell ablation in zebrafish would greatly expand the utility of this genetic model system in developmental and regeneration studies, given its extensive regenerative capabilities. Here, we show that, by combining chemical and genetic tools, one can ablate cells in a temporal- and spatial-specific manner in zebrafish larvae. For this purpose, we used the bacterial Nitroreductase (NTR) enzyme to convert the prodrug Metronidazole (Mtz) into a cytotoxic DNA cross-linking agent. To investigate the efficiency of this system, we targeted three different cell lineages in the heart, pancreas, and liver. Expression of the fusion protein Cyan Fluorescent Protein-NTR (CFP-NTR) under control of tissue-specific promoters allowed us to induce the death of cardiomyocytes, pancreatic beta-cells, and hepatocytes at specific times. Moreover, we have observed that Mtz can be efficiently washed away and that, upon Mtz withdrawal, the profoundly affected tissue can quickly recover. These findings show that the NTR/Mtz system is effective for temporally and spatially controlled cell ablation in zebrafish, thereby constituting a most promising genetic tool to analyze tissue interactions as well as the mechanisms underlying regeneration. This article was published in Dev Dyn and referenced in Human Genetics & Embryology

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  • Yosef Yarden
    Classically, the 3’untranslated region (3’UTR) is that region in eukaryotic protein-coding genes from the translation termination codon to the polyA signal. It is transcribed as an integral part of the mRNA encoded by the gene. However, there exists another kind of RNA, which consists of the 3’UTR alone, without all other elements in mRNA such as 5’UTR and coding region. The importance of independent 3’UTR RNA (referred as I3’UTR) was prompted by results of artificially introducing such RNA species into malignant mammalian cells. Since 1991, we found that the middle part of the 3’UTR of the human nuclear factor for interleukin-6 (NF-IL6) or C/EBP gene exerted tumor suppression effect in vivo. Our subsequent studies showed that transfection of C/EBP 3’UTR led to down-regulation of several genes favorable for malignancy and to up-regulation of some genes favorable for phenotypic reversion. Also, it was shown that the sequences near the termini of the C/EBP 3’UTR were important for its tumor suppression activity. Then, the C/EBP 3’UTR was found to directly inhibit the phosphorylation activity of protein kinase CPKC in SMMC-7721, a hepatocarcinoma cell line. Recently, an AU-rich region in the C/EBP 3’UTR was found also to be responsible for its tumor suppression. Recently we have also found evidence that the independent C/EBP 3’UTR RNA is actually exists in human tissues, such as fetal liver and heart, pregnant uterus, senescent fibroblasts etc. Through 1990’s to 2000’s, world scientists found several 3’UTR RNAs that functioned as artificial independent RNAs in cancer cells and resulted in tumor suppression. Interestingly, majority of genes for these RNAs have promoter-like structures in their 3’UTR regions, although the existence of their transcribed products as independent 3’UTR RNAs is still to be confirmed. Our studies indicate that the independent 3’UTR RNA is a novel non-coding RNA species whose function should be the regulation not of the expression of their original mRNA, but of some essential life activities of the cell as a whole.
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