The influences of parental diet and vitamin E intake on the embryonic zebrafish transcriptome

Comp Biochem Physiol Part D Genomics Proteomics. 2014 Jun:10:22-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cbd.2014.02.001. Epub 2014 Mar 1.


The composition of the typical commercial diet fed to zebrafish can dramatically vary. By utilizing defined diets we sought to answer two questions: 1) How does the embryonic zebrafish transcriptome change when the parental adults are fed a commercial lab diet compared with a sufficient, defined diet (E+)? 2) Does a vitamin E-deficient parental diet (E-) further change the embryonic transcriptome? We conducted a global gene expression study using embryos from zebrafish fed a commercial (Lab), an E+ or an E- diet. To capture differentially expressed transcripts prior to onset of overt malformations observed in E- embryos at 48h post-fertilization (hpf), embryos were collected from each group at 36hpf. Lab embryos differentially expressed (p<0.01) 946 transcripts compared with the E+ embryos, and 2656 transcripts compared with the E- embryos. The differences in protein, fat and micronutrient intakes in zebrafish fed the Lab compared with the E+ diet demonstrate that despite overt morphologic consistency, significant differences in gene expression occurred. Moreover, functional analysis of the significant transcripts in the E- embryos suggested perturbed energy metabolism, leading to overt malformations and mortality. Thus, these findings demonstrate that parental zebrafish diet has a direct impact on the embryonic transcriptome.

Keywords: Defined diet; Microarray; Transcriptome; Vitamin E; Zebrafish.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • Vitamin E / pharmacology*
  • Zebrafish / embryology*


  • Vitamin E