Transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) have become powerful tools for targeted genome editing. Here we demonstrated efficient targeted mutagenesis in medaka (Oryzias latipes), which serves an excellent vertebrate model for genetics and genomics. We designed and constructed a pair of TALENs targeting the medaka DJ-1 gene, a homologue of human DJ-1 (PARK7). These TALENs induced a number of insertions and deletions in the injected embryos with extremely high efficiency. This induction of mutations occurred in a dose-dependent manner. All screened G0 fish injected with the TALENs transmitted the TALEN-induced mutations to the next generation with high efficiency (44-100%). We also confirmed that these TALENs induced site-specific mutations, because none of the mutations were found at potential off-target sites. In addition, the DJ-1 protein was lost in DJ-1Δ7/Δ7 fish that carried a TALEN-induced frame-shift mutation in both alleles. We also investigated the effect of the N- and C-terminal regions of the transcription activator-like (TAL) effector domain on the gene-disrupting activity of DJ1-TALENs and found that 287 amino acids at the N-terminus and 63 amino acids at the C-terminus of the TAL domain exhibited the highest disrupting activity in the injected embryos. Our results suggest that TALENs enable us to rapidly and efficiently establish knockout medaka strains. This is the first report of targeted mutagenesis in medaka using TALENs. The TALEN technology will expand the potential of medaka as a model system for genetics and genomics.

  • Received November 12, 2012.
  • Accepted December 26, 2012.