Development of transgenic fish for ornamental and bioreactor by strong expression of fluorescent proteins in the skeletal muscle

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Aug 15;308(1):58-63. doi: 10.1016/s0006-291x(03)01282-8.


In the present study, new applications of the transgenic technology in developing novel varieties of ornamental fish and bioreactor fish were explored in a model fish, the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Three "living color" fluorescent proteins, green fluorescent protein (GFP), yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), and red fluorescent protein (RFP or dsRed), were expressed under a strong muscle-specific mylz2 promoter in stable lines of transgenic zebrafish. These transgenic zebrafish display vivid fluorescent colors (green, red, yellow, or orange) visible to unaided eyes under both daylight and ultraviolet light in the dark. The level of foreign protein expression is estimated between 3% and 17% of total muscle proteins, equivalent to 4.8-27.2mg/g wet muscle tissue. Thus, the fish muscle may be explored as another useful bioreactor system for production of recombinant proteins. In spite of the high level of foreign protein expression, the expression of endogenous mylz2 mRNAs was not negatively affected. Furthermore, compared to the wild-type fish, these fluorescent transgenic fish have no advantage in survival and reproduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Bioreactors*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish / genetics


  • Luminescent Proteins