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PLoS One. 2011 Jan 26;6(1):e16587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016587.

Delaying Gal4-driven gene expression in the zebrafish with morpholinos and Gal80.

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Laboratory of Sensory Cell Biology and Organogenesis, Centre de Regulació Genòmica, Barcelona, Spain.


The modular Gal4/UAS gene expression system has become an indispensable tool in modern biology. Several large-scale gene- and enhancer-trap screens in the zebrafish have generated hundreds of transgenic lines expressing Gal4 in unique patterns. However, the early embryonic expression of the Gal4 severely limits their use for studies on regeneration or behavior because UAS-driven effectors could disrupt normal organogenesis. To overcome this limitation, we explored the use of the Gal4 repressor Gal80 in transient assays and with stable transgenes to temporally control Gal4 activity. We also validated a strategy to delay Gal4-driven gene expression using a morpholino targeted to Gal4. The first approach is limited to transgenes expressing the native Gal4. The morphant approach can also be applied to transgenic lines expressing the Gal4-VP16 fusion protein. It promises to become a standard approach to delay Gal4-driven transgene expression and enhance the genetic toolkit for the zebrafish.

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