Feng, Z., Nam, S., Hamouri, F., Aujard, I., Ducos, B., Vriz, S., Volovitch, M., Jullien, L., Lin, S., Weiss, S., Bensimon, D. (2017) Optical Control of Tumor Induction in the Zebrafish. Scientific Reports. 7:9195.
The zebrafish has become an increasingly popular and valuable cancer model over the past few decades. While most zebrafish cancer models are generated by expressing mammalian oncogenes under tissue-specific promoters, here we describe a method that allows for the precise optical control of oncogene expression in live zebrafish. We utilize this technique to transiently or constitutively activate a typical human oncogene, kRASG12V, in zebrafish embryos and investigate the developmental and tumorigenic phenotypes. We demonstrate the spatiotemporal control of oncogene expression in live zebrafish, and characterize the different tumorigenic probabilities when kRASG12V is expressed transiently or constitutively at different developmental stages. Moreover, we show that light can be used to activate oncogene expression in selected tissues and single cells without tissue-specific promoters. Our work presents a novel approach to initiate and study cancer in zebrafish, and the high spatiotemporal resolution of this method makes it a valuable tool for studying cancer initiation from single cells.