pIGLET: Safe harbor landing sites for reproducible and efficient transgenesis in zebrafish

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pIGLET: Safe harbor landing sites for reproducible and efficient transgenesis in zebrafish


Lalonde, R. L.; Wells, H. H.; Kemmler, C. L.; Nieuwenhuize, S.; Lerma, R.; Burger, A.; Mosimann, C.


Standard methods for transgenesis in zebrafish depend on random transgene integration into the genome followed by resource-intensive screening and validation. Targeted vector integration into validated genomic loci using phiC31 integrase-based attP/attB recombination has transformed mouse and Drosophila transgenesis. However, while the phiC31 system functions in zebrafish, validated loci carrying attP-based landing or safe harbor sites for transgene integration in zebrafish have not been established. Here, using CRISPR-Cas9, we converted two well-validated single insertion Tol2-based zebrafish transgenes with long-standing genetic stability into two attP landing sites, called phiC31 Integrase Genomic Loci Engineered for Transgenesis (pIGLET). Generating fluorescent reporters, loxP-based Switch lines, CreERT2 effector transgenes, and gene-regulatory variant reporters in the pIGLET14a and pIGLET24b landing site alleles, we document their suitability for transgenesis applications across cell types and developmental stages. For both landing sites, we routinely achieve 25-50% germline transmission of targeted transgene integrations, drastically reducing the number of required animals and necessary resources to generate individual transgenic lines. We document that phiC31 integrase-based transgenesis into pIGLET14a and pIGLET24b reproducibly results in representative reporter expression patterns in injected F0 zebrafish embryos for enhancer discovery and enables qualitative and quantitative comparison of gene-regulatory element variants. Taken together, our new phiC31 integrase-based transgene landing sites establish reproducible, targeted zebrafish transgenesis for numerous applications including quantitative experiments while greatly reducing the workload of generating new transgenic zebrafish lines.

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