"Zebrafishing" for novel genes relevant to the glomerular filtration barrier

Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:658270. doi: 10.1155/2013/658270. Epub 2013 Sep 11.


Data for genes relevant to glomerular filtration barrier function or proteinuria is continually increasing in an era of microarrays, genome-wide association studies, and quantitative trait locus analysis. Researchers are limited by published literature searches to select the most relevant genes to investigate. High-throughput cell cultures and other in vitro systems ultimately need to demonstrate proof in an in vivo model. Generating mammalian models for the genes of interest is costly and time intensive, and yields only a small number of test subjects. These models also have many pitfalls such as possible embryonic mortality and failure to generate phenotypes or generate nonkidney specific phenotypes. Here we describe an in vivo zebrafish model as a simple vertebrate screening system to identify genes relevant to glomerular filtration barrier function. Using our technology, we are able to screen entirely novel genes in 4-6 weeks in hundreds of live test subjects at a fraction of the cost of a mammalian model. Our system produces consistent and reliable evidence for gene relevance in glomerular kidney disease; the results then provide merit for further analysis in mammalian models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glomerular Filtration Barrier / metabolism
  • Glomerular Filtration Barrier / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics*
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Morpholinos / genetics
  • Zebrafish / genetics*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Morpholinos