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Evaluation of two gene ablation methods for the analysis of pregnenolone function in zebrafish embryonic development

Kolas V, Mathieu G, Wu YT, Chung BC
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2022 Oct 21;636(Pt 1):84-88. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2022.10.067. Online ahead of print
Pregnenolone (P5) is a steroid that functions in the brain and in zebrafish embryogenesis. It is synthesized from cholesterol via the enzymatic activity of P450scc, encoded by CYP11A1. P5 exerts its function by activating CLIP1, which in turn promotes microtubule assembly necessary for many biological processes including embryogenesis. To examine the functional relatedness of CYP11A1 and CLIP1, we ablated the embryonic expression of both genes in zebrafish, i.e. cyp11a1 and clip1a. Two cyp11a1 knockout fish lines were generated. Both homozygous cyp11a1 knockout lines appeared normal. But the development of fish embryos was delayed and embryonic cell migration was reduced when cyp11a1 function was depleted of by morpholinos. This discrepancy in phenotypes by two different gene depletion methods was also observed for clip1a. While clip1a morphants are defective in embryogenesis, clip1a knockout fish appeared normal. The phenotypes depend on the methods that create gene depletion. While knockout fish lines do not have expected phenotypic defects, clip1a and cyp11a1 morpholinos both reduce embryonic cell migration. We have evaluated the usefulness of both methods of gene ablation, and conclude that CYP11A1 and CLIP1 function in the same pathway to promote embryogenesis.
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