White, R.M., Sessa, A., Burke, C., Bowman, T., LeBlanc, J., Ceol, C. Bourque, C., Dovey, M., Goessling, W., Burns, C.E., and Zon, L.I. (2008) Transparent Adult Zebrafish as a Tool for In Vivo Transplantation Analysis. Cell Stem Cell. 2(2):183-189.
The zebrafish is a useful model for understanding normal and cancer stem cells, but analysis has been limited to embryogenesis due to the opacity of the adult fish. To address this, we have created a transparent adult zebrafish in which we transplanted either hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells or tumor cells. In a hematopoiesis radiation recovery assay, transplantation of GFP-labeled marrow cells allowed for striking in vivo visual assessment of engraftment from 2 hr–5 weeks posttransplant. Using FACS analysis, both transparent and wild-type fish had equal engraftment, but this could only be visualized in the transparent recipient. In a tumor engraftment model, transplantation of RAS-melanoma cells allowed for visualization of tumor engraftment, proliferation, and distant metastases in as little as 5 days, which is not seen in wild-type recipients until 3 to 4 weeks. This transparent adult zebrafish serves as the ideal combination of both sensitivity and resolution for in vivo stem cell analyses.