Benato, F., Colletti, E., Skobo, T., Moro, E., Colombo, L., Argenton, F., Dalla Valle, L. (2014) A living biosensor model to dynamically trace glucocorticoid transcriptional activity during development and adult life in zebrafish. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 392(1-2):60-72.
Glucocorticoids (GCs) modulate many cellular processes through the binding of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) to specific responsive elements located upstream of the transcription starting site or within an intron of GC target genes. Here we describe a transgenic fish line harboring a construct with nine GC-responsive elements (GREs) upstream of a reporter (EGFP) coding sequence. Transgenic fish exhibit strong fluorescence in many known GC-responsive organs. Moreover, its enhanced sensitivity allowed the discovery of novel GC-responsive tissue compartments, such as fin, eyes, and otic vesicles. Long-term persistence of transgene expression is seen during adult stages in several organs. Pharmacological and genetic analysis demonstrates that the transgenic line is highly responsive to drug administration and molecular manipulation. Moreover, reporter expression is sensitively and dynamically modulated by the photoperiod, thus proving that these fish are an in vivo valuable platform to explore GC responsiveness to both endogenous and exogenous stimuli.