Hong, N., Schartl, M., Hong, Y. (2014) Derivation of stable zebrafish ES-like cells in feeder-free culture. Cell and tissue research. 357(3):623-32.
Zebrafish offers an excellent opportunity to combine embryological, genetic and molecular analyses of vertebrate development in vivo. Embryonic stem (ES) cells have enormous potential to study developmental potency and differentiation in vitro and thus to complement in vivo approaches. Zebrafish ES-like cells have been produced on a feeder cell layer. Here, we report the derivation of Z428, a zebrafish ES-like cell line, from blastula embryos in feeder-free culture. Fetal bovine serum, fish serum, fish embryo extract, basic fibroblast growth factor, non-essential amino acids and 2-mercaptoethanol were found to be important for Z428 growth. After more than 120 passages and many freezing/thawing cycles over a period of 20 years, Z428 exhibits stable growth and manifests many ES cell features including an ES cell phenotype, high alkaline phosphatase activity and spontaneous differentiation in culture. Most importantly, Z428 was transplantable to blastula hosts and capable of contributing to embryonic tissues and organ systems of the three germ layers. Therefore, Z428 is a stable cell line and contains ES-like cells with pluripotency in vitro and in vivo, and a feeder layer is dispensable for ES-like cell derivation in zebrafish. The derivation and easy maintenance of zebrafish ES-like cells under feeder-free conditions provide a useful extension of the present toolbox for studying development and differentiation in the zebrafish model.