A transgenic zebrafish model of targeted oocyte ablation and de novo oogenesis

Dev Dyn. 2011 Aug;240(8):1929-37. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22695.


We describe here a novel transgenic zebrafish, Tg(zpc:G4VP16/UAS:nfsB-mCherry) that effectively demonstrates the targeted oocyte ablation in the adult zebrafish ovary. This transgenic line expresses bacterial nitroreductase enzyme (nfsB) under the control of the oocyte-specific zona pellucida C (zpc) gene promoter. Adult transgenic females exposed to the prodrug metronidazole demonstrated near-complete ablation of growing oocytes, resulting in ovarian degeneration and complete cessation of reproductive function. Within 4 weeks of prodrug removal, treated fish demonstrated complete anatomical regeneration of the ovary and, within 7 weeks, ovarian function (fertility) was fully restored. Together, these results demonstrate functional renewal of the oocyte pool in the adult zebrafish ovary. Accordingly, this transgenic zebrafish model system provides a novel means to investigate ovarian growth dynamics in a genetically tractable vertebrate, and may be useful for evaluating signaling interactions that regulate gonadal development processes such as de novo oogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified*
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Metronidazole / pharmacology
  • Models, Animal*
  • Oocytes / cytology
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Oogenesis / physiology*
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Prodrugs / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Zebrafish / anatomy & histology
  • Zebrafish / physiology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Prodrugs
  • Metronidazole