Disease modeling in genetic kidney diseases: zebrafish

Cell Tissue Res. 2017 Jul;369(1):127-141. doi: 10.1007/s00441-017-2593-0. Epub 2017 Mar 22.


Growing numbers of translational genomics studies are based on the highly efficient and versatile zebrafish (Danio rerio) vertebrate model. The increasing types of zebrafish models have improved our understanding of inherited kidney diseases, since they not only display pathophysiological changes but also give us the opportunity to develop and test novel treatment options in a high-throughput manner. New paradigms in inherited kidney diseases have been developed on the basis of the distinct genome conservation of approximately 70 % between zebrafish and humans in terms of existing gene orthologs. Several options are available to determine the functional role of a specific gene or gene sets. Permanent genome editing can be induced via complete gene knockout by using the CRISPR/Cas-system, among others, or via transient modification by using various morpholino techniques. Cross-species rescues succeeding knockdown techniques are employed to determine the functional significance of a target gene or a specific mutation. This article summarizes the current techniques and discusses their perspectives.

Keywords: CRISPR/Cas; Genetic kidney disease; Morpholino; Podocytopathies; Zebrafish.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques / methods*
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn* / genetics
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases* / genetics
  • Kidney Diseases* / metabolism
  • Zebrafish* / genetics
  • Zebrafish* / metabolism