CaMKII is a Ca2+/CaM-dependent protein kinase encoded by a family of conserved genes found throughout all metazoan species and expressed from fertilization into adulthood. One of these genes, camk2g1, is particularly important during early development as determined by pharmacologic, dominant negative and antisense morpholino approaches in zebrafish. Four other teleost fish species (cavefish, medaka, stickleback, and tilapia), exhibit sequence conservation of camk2g1 and duplication of the same CaMKII genes. A homozygous mutant of camk2g1 was generated in zebrafish using TALEN technology but yielded none of the phenotypic alterations seen using all other approaches and was reproductively viable. However, these camk2g1 mutant embryos showed a 4-fold over-expression of its paralog camk2g2. None of the other camk2 genes showed such transcriptional elevation, in fact, some of these genes were suppressed to 10% of wild type levels. In contrast, G0 camk2g1 CRISPR/Cas9 embryos recapitulated nearly all of the altered phenotypes observed in camk2g1 morphants, including renal, aural and ciliary defects. These findings validate the importance of this gene family during early zebrafish development and provide evidence for gene-specific transcriptional cross-talk consistent with genetic compensation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes