Establishment of HRAS(G12V) transgenic medaka as a stable tumor model for in vivo screening of anticancer drugs

PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54424. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054424. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Abstract

Most targeted anticancer drugs have been identified by screening at the molecular or cellular level in vitro. However, many compounds selected by such costly and time-consuming screening do not prove effective against tumors in vivo. The development of anticancer drugs would thus be facilitated by the availability of an in vivo screening system based on a multicellular organism. We have now established a transgenic line of the freshwater fish medaka in which melanophores (melanocytes) proliferate in a manner dependent on heat shock-induced signaling by a human RAS oncoprotein. The human HRAS(G12V) oncogene was expressed under the control of a melanophore-specific gene promoter in order to allow visualization of tumor growth in live fish maintained in a water tank. The expression of HRAS(G12V) was induced as a result of Cre-mediated recombination by exposure of the fish to a temperature of 37°C for 30 min, given that the Cre gene was placed under the control of a medaka heat shock promoter. One of the stable transgenic lines developed abnormal pigment cell proliferation in the eyes and epidermis with 100% penetrance by 6 months postfertilization. Sorafenib, an inhibitor of RAS signaling, was administered to the transgenic fish and was found both to reduce the extent of melanophore proliferation and to improve survival. The transgenic medaka established here thus represents a promising in vivo system with which to screen potential anticancer drugs that target RAS signaling, and this system can readily be adapted for the screening of agents that target other oncogenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Melanophores / drug effects
  • Niacinamide / analogs & derivatives
  • Niacinamide / pharmacology
  • Oryzias
  • Phenylurea Compounds / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / metabolism*
  • Sorafenib

Substances

  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Niacinamide
  • Sorafenib
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)

Grant support

The study was supported by Japan Science and Technology Agency, Core Research for Evolutional Science and Technology. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.