Combining computational prediction of cis-regulatory elements with a new enhancer assay to efficiently label neuronal structures in the medaka fish
Authors: Mongin E, Auer TO, Bourrat F, Gruhl F, Dewar K, Blanchette M, Wittbrodt J, Ettwiller L
CellNetworks People: Wittbrodt Joachim
Journal: PLoS One. 2011;6(5):e19747. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019747

The developing vertebrate nervous system contains a remarkable array of neural cells organized into complex, evolutionarily conserved structures. The labeling of living cells in these structures is key for the understanding of brain development and function, yet the generation of stable lines expressing reporter genes in specific spatio-temporal patterns remains a limiting step. In this study we present a fast and reliable pipeline to efficiently generate a set of stable lines expressing a reporter gene in multiple neuronal structures in the developing nervous system in medaka. The pipeline combines both the accurate computational genome-wide prediction of neuronal specific cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) and a newly developed experimental setup to rapidly obtain transgenic lines in a cost-effective and highly reproducible manner. 95% of the CRMs tested in our experimental setup show enhancer activity in various and numerous neuronal structures belonging to all major brain subdivisions. This pipeline represents a significant step towards the dissection of embryonic neuronal development in vertebrates.