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Circumventing Zygotic Lethality to Generate Maternal Mutants in Zebrafish

Abstract : Maternal gene products accumulated during oogenesis are essential for supporting early developmental processes in both invertebrates and vertebrates. Therefore, understanding their regulatory functions should provide insights into the maternal control of embryogenesis. The CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology has provided a powerful tool for creating genetic mutations to study gene functions and developing disease models to identify new therapeutics. However, many maternal genes are also essential after zygotic genome activation; as a result, loss of their zygotic functions often leads to lethality or sterility, thus preventing the generation of maternal mutants by classical crossing between zygotic homozygous mutant adult animals. Although several approaches, such as the rescue of mutant phenotypes through an injection of the wild-type mRNA, germ-line replacement, and the generation of genetically mosaic females, have been developed to overcome this difficulty, they are often technically challenging and time-consuming or inappropriate for many genes that are essential for late developmental events or for germ-line formation. Recently, a method based on the oocyte transgenic expression of CRISPR/Cas9 and guide RNAs has been designed to eliminate maternal gene products in zebrafish. This approach introduces several tandem guide RNA expression cassettes and a GFP reporter into transgenic embryos expressing Cas9 to create biallelic mutations and inactivate genes of interest specifically in the developing oocytes. It is particularly accessible and allows for the elimination of maternal gene products in one fish generation. By further improving its efficiency, this method can be used for the systematic characterization of maternal-effect genes.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 11:45:33 AM
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De-Li Shi. Circumventing Zygotic Lethality to Generate Maternal Mutants in Zebrafish. Biology, MDPI 2022, 11 (1), pp.102. ⟨10.3390/biology11010102⟩. ⟨hal-03542348⟩

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