Cyp1a reporter zebrafish reveals target tissues for dioxin

Kun Hee Kim, Hye Jeong Park, Jin Hee Kim, Suhyun Kim, Darren R. Williams, Myeong Kyu Kim, Young Do Jung, Hiroki Teraoka, Hae Chul Park, Hyon E. Choy, Boo Ahn Shin, Seok Yong Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) is the unintentional byproduct of various industrial processes, is classified as human carcinogen and could disrupt reproductive, developmental and endocrine systems. Induction of cyp1a1 is used as an indicator of TCDD exposure. We sought to determine tissues that are vulnerable to TCDD toxicity using a transgenic zebrafish (Danio rerio) model. We inserted a nuclear enhanced green fluorescent protein gene (EGFP) into the start codon of a zebrafish cyp1a gene in a fosmid clone using DNA recombineering. The resulting recombineered fosmid was then used to generate cyp1a reporter zebrafish, embryos of which were exposed to TCDD. Expression pattern of EGFP in the reporter zebrafish mirrored that of endogenous cyp1a mRNA. In addition, exposure of the embryos to TCDD at as low as 10 pM for 72 h, which does not elicit morphological abnormalities of embryos, markedly increased GFP expression. Furthermore, the reporter embryos responded to other AhR ligands as well. Exposure of the embryos to TCDD revealed previously reported (the cardiovascular system, liver, pancreas, kidney, swim bladder and skin) and unreported target tissues (retinal bipolar cells, otic vesicle, lateral line, cloaca and pectoral fin bud) for TCDD. Transgenic cyp1a reporter zebrafish we have developed can further understanding of ecotoxicological relevance and human health risks by TCDD. In addition, they could be used to identify agonists of AhR and antidotes to TCDD toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalAquatic Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun 5

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology ( NRF-2009-351-C00144 and 2009-0070204 ), Chonnam National University ( 2011-2495 ) and Chonnam National University Hospital Research Institute of Clinical Medicine ( CRI 12012-1 ).


  • Aryl hydrocarbon receptor
  • Cyp1a
  • Dioxin
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • TCDD
  • Transgenic
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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