Lee, C.Y., Hu, S.Y., Gong, H.Y., Chen, M.H., Lu, J.K., and Wu, J.L. (2009) Suppression of myostatin with vector-based RNA interference causes a double-muscle effect in transgenic zebrafish. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 387(4):766-771.
Myostatin belongs to the transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta superfamily and is a potent negative regulator of skeletal muscle development and growth. We utilized microinjection of an antisense RNA-expressing vector to establish a hereditarily stable myostatin gene knockdown zebrafish strain with a double-muscle phenotype. Real-time PCR and immunostaining revealed that the myostatin messenger (m)RNA and protein levels in homozygous transgenic zebrafish were 33% and 26% those of the non-transgenic controls, respectively. Also, the mRNA levels of myogenic regulatory factor markers such as MyoD, myogenin, Mrf4, and Myf5 were dramatically elevated in myostatin-suppressed transgenic fish compared to the non-transgenic controls. Although there was no significant difference in body length, homozygous transgenic zebrafish were 45% heavier than non-transgenic controls. Histochemical analysis showed that the cross-sectional area of the muscle fiber of homozygous transgenic fish was twice as large as that of non-transgenic controls. This is the first model zebrafish with a hereditarily stable myostatin-suppressed genotype and a double-muscle phenotype.