John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Generation of mt:egfp transgenic zebrafish biosensor for the detection of aquatic zinc and cadmium

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Courtesy of John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Zebrafish embryo toxicity test has become a popular method for detecting the environmental pollutions. But our research showed that zebrafish embryos exhibited no visible paramorphia, malformation or mortality when exposed to heavy metals in a range above the environmental standard limits, indicating that zebrafish embryo an imprecise model in monitoring environmental heavy metals concentrations above regulatory limits. Aiming to obtain a biosensor to aquatic heavy metals, a metal‐sensitive vector including zebrafish metallothionein (mt) promoter and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) was reconstructed and microinjected into one‐cell stage zebrafish embryos. Finally we got mt:egfp transgenic zebrafish line sensitive to aquatic zinc and cadmium. Quantitative experiment showed that zinc and cadmium treatment significantly induced the expression of EGFP in a dose‐ and time‐ dependent manner. In particular, EGFP mRNA levels increased remarkably when exposed to heavy metals above the standard limits. The results suggested that the transgenic zebrafish was a highly sensitive biosensor for the detection of environmental levels of zinc and cadmium. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

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