Salanga Matthew C.
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PreprintDevelopmental exposure to domoic acid disrupts startle response behavior and circuitry in zebrafish(Oxford University Press, 2021-06-07) Panlilio, Jennifer M. ; Jones, Ian T. ; Salanga, Matthew C. ; Aluru, Neelakanteswar ; Hahn, Mark E.Harmful algal blooms produce potent neurotoxins that accumulate in seafood and are hazardous to human health. Developmental exposure to the harmful algal bloom toxin, domoic acid (DomA), has behavioral consequences well into adulthood, but the cellular and molecular mechanisms of DomA developmental neurotoxicity are largely unknown. To assess these, we exposed zebrafish embryos to DomA during the previously identified window of susceptibility and used the well-known startle response circuit as a tool to identify specific neuronal components that are targeted by exposure to DomA. Exposure to DomA reduced startle responsiveness to both auditory/vibrational and electrical stimuli, and even at the highest stimulus intensities tested, led to a dramatic reduction of one type of startle (short-latency c-starts). Furthermore, DomA-exposed larvae had altered kinematics for both types of startle responses tested, exhibiting shallower bend angles and slower maximal angular velocities. Using vital dye staining, immunolabeling, and live imaging of transgenic lines, we determined that although the sensory inputs were intact, the reticulospinal neurons required for short-latency c-starts were absent in most DomA-exposed larvae. Furthermore, axon tracing revealed that DomA-treated larvae also showed significantly reduced primary motor neuron axon collaterals. Overall, these results show that developmental exposure to DomA targets large reticulospinal neurons and motor neuron axon collaterals, resulting in measurable deficits in startle behavior. They further provide a framework for using the startle response circuit to identify specific neural populations disrupted by toxins or toxicants and to link these disruptions to functional consequences for neural circuit function and behavior.
PreprintXenopus as a model for GI/pancreas disease( 2015-03) Salanga, Matthew C. ; Horb, Marko E.Diseases affecting endodermal organs like the pancreas, lung and gastrointestinal (GI) tract have a substantial impact on human welfare. Since many of these are congenital defects that arise as a result of defects during development broad efforts are focused on understanding the development of these organs so as to better identify risk factors, disease mechanisms and therapeutic targets. Studies implementing model systems, like the amphibian Xenopus, have contributed immensely to our understanding of signaling (e.g. Wnt, FGF, BMP, RA) pathways and gene regulation (e.g. hhex, ptf1a, ngn3) that underlie normal development as well as disease progression. Recent advances in genome engineering further enhance the capabilities of the Xenopus model system for pursuing biomedical research, and will undoubtedly result in a boom of new information underlying disease mechanisms ultimately leading to advancements in diagnosis and therapy.
PreprintTargeted knockout of lhx1 via CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in the Xenopus laevis kidney( 2017-09-29) DeLay, Bridget D. ; Corkins, Mark E. ; Hanania, Hannah L. ; Salanga, Matthew C. ; Deng, Jian Min ; Sudou, Norihiro ; Taira, Masanori ; Horb, Marko E. ; Miller, Rachel K.Studying genes involved in organogenesis is often difficult because many of these genes are also essential for early development. The allotetraploid frog, Xenopus laevis, is commonly used to study developmental processes, but because of the presence of two homeologs for many genes, it has been difficult to use as a genetic model. Few studies have successfully used CRISPR in amphibians, and currently there is no tissue-targeted knockout strategy described in Xenopus. The goal of this study is to determine whether CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout can be targeted to the Xenopus kidney without perturbing essential early gene function. We demonstrate that targeting CRISPR gene editing to the kidney and the eye of F0 embryos is feasible. Our study shows that knockout of both homeologs of lhx1 results in the disruption of kidney development and function but does not lead to early developmental defects. Therefore, targeting of CRISPR to the kidney may not be necessary to bypass the early developmental defects reported upon disruption of Lhx1 protein expression or function by morpholinos, antisense RNA, or dominant negative constructs. We also establish a control for CRISPR in Xenopus by editing a gene (slc45a2) that when knocked out results in albinism without altering kidney development. This study establishes the feasibility of tissue-specific gene knockout in Xenopus, providing a cost effective and efficient method for assessing the roles of genes implicated in developmental abnormalities that is amenable to high-throughput gene or drug screening techniques.
ArticleGeneration of a Xenopus laevis F1 albino J strain by genome editing and oocyte host-transfer(Elsevier, 2016-03-15) Ratzan, Wil ; Falco, Rosalia ; Salanga, Cristy ; Salanga, Matthew C. ; Horb, Marko E.Completion of the Xenopus laevis genome sequence from inbred J strain animals has facilitated the generation of germline mutant X. laevis using targeted genome editing. In the last few years, numerous reports have demonstrated that TALENs are able to induce mutations in F0 Xenopus embryos, but none has demonstrated germline transmission of such mutations in X. laevis. In this report we used the oocyte host-transfer method to generate mutations in both tyrosinase homeologs and found highly-penetrant germline mutations; in contrast, embryonic injections yielded few germline mutations. We also compared the distribution of mutations in several F0 somatic tissues and germ cells and found that the majority of mutations in each tissue were different. These results establish that X. laevis J strain animals are very useful for generating germline mutations and that the oocyte host-transfer method is an efficient technique for generating mutations in both homeologs.
ArticleOrphan cytochrome P450 20a1 CRISPR/Cas9 mutants and neurobehavioral phenotypes in zebrafish(Nature Research, 2021-12-13) Brun, Nadja R. ; Salanga, Matthew C. ; Mora-Zamorano, Francisco X. ; Lamb, David C. ; Goldstone, Jared V. ; Stegeman, John J.Orphan cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes are those for which biological substrates and function(s) are unknown. Cytochrome P450 20A1 (CYP20A1) is the last human orphan P450 enzyme, and orthologs occur as single genes in every vertebrate genome sequenced to date. The occurrence of high levels of CYP20A1 transcripts in human substantia nigra and hippocampus and abundant maternal transcripts in zebrafish eggs strongly suggest roles both in the brain and during early embryonic development. Patients with chromosome 2 microdeletions including CYP20A1 show hyperactivity and bouts of anxiety, among other conditions. Here, we created zebrafish cyp20a1 mutants using CRISPR/Cas9, providing vertebrate models with which to study the role of CYP20A1 in behavior and other neurodevelopmental functions. The homozygous cyp20a1 null mutants exhibited significant behavioral differences from wild-type zebrafish, both in larval and adult animals. Larval cyp20a1-/- mutants exhibited a strong increase in light-simulated movement (i.e., light–dark assay), which was interpreted as hyperactivity. Further, the larvae exhibited mild hypoactivity during the adaptation period of the optomotor assays. Adult cyp20a1 null fish showed a pronounced delay in adapting to new environments, which is consistent with an anxiety paradigm. Taken together with our earlier morpholino cyp20a1 knockdown results, the results described herein suggest that the orphan CYP20A1 has a neurophysiological role.