MAZe: a tool for mosaic analysis of gene function in zebrafish

Nat Methods. 2010 Mar;7(3):219-23. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1423. Epub 2010 Feb 7.


To trace cell lineages in a developing vertebrate and to observe, in vivo, how behaviors of individual cells are affected by the genes they express, we created a zebrafish line containing a transgene called mosaic analysis in zebrafish (MAZe), built around a self-excising hsp70:Cre cassette. Heat shock triggers Cre recombinase-mediated recombination in a random subset of cells, bringing the transcriptional activator Gal4:VP16 under control of the EF1alpha promoter. Gal4-VP16 then activates expression of a fluorescent protein from an upstream activating sequence (UAS) promoter. Marked clones of cells expressing any desired gene product can be generated by crossing MAZe fish with other lines containing UAS-driven transgenes. The number of clones induced, and their time of origin, could be varied by adjusting heat-shock timing and duration. As an alternative to heat shock, we introduced Cre under a tissue-specific promoter in MAZe fish to generate clones in a designated tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Fusion
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Integrases / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mosaicism*
  • Myoblasts / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transgenes*
  • Zebrafish / genetics*


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/GQ856364