In terms of rescuing morpholino phenotype by mRNA injection, the
brief procedure is to make RNA and co-inject it with your
morpholino. For making the mRNA, I recommend using a kit to make
capped mRNA. We use mMessage mMachine from Ambion. You get plenty
of mRNA. You need to make sure that the open reading frame for your
gene is in an mRNA expression vector (e.g. CS2+) with an RNA
polymerase promoter 5' to the start of translation and a
polyadenylation signal at the 3' end.
Here are some additional considerations:
1) You will be co-injecting your morpholino with the mRNA, so your
morpholino needs to be resuspended in RNase-free buffer.
2) It is best to co-inject the morpholino in the same solution with
your mRNA, because that way you reduce the possibility of having
different mosaic expression for the morpholino and the RNA. Also,
you reduce the total number of injections you have to do.
3) The amount of mRNA to use can be very difficult to find. It is
easiest to rescue with RNA that does not, on its own, have a strong
overexpression phenotype, because then you can just inject a lot
(200-400pg). Otherwise, you may have to spend quite a bit of time
looking for the right amount.
I will add a couple of things to what Dr. Moulton has contributed below.
1) There is an additional reason that a rescue might not work even
though the morpholino phenotype is real (besides a requirement for
proper timing of mRNA expression): many genes require tissue-
specific expression. Your overexpression will be ubiquitous.
Therefore, if overexpression in non-endogenous tissues causes a
phenotype, you will always get messed up fish. Of course if you are
just looking to see restoration of a specific trait, tissue, cell
type, etc., you maybe able to see rescue in despite of getting an
2) Using two different morpholinos to get the same phenotype is
definitely a good control suggesting specificity. I would also
suggest, using a control morpholino with 5 bp mismatch to show that
it does not give the same phenotype. You could also try to correlate
phenotypic severity with morpholino dose, preferably in a blind
experiment. If you are using a splice-blocker morpholino, you can
further correlate severity of phenotype with the degree of transcript
alteration by RT-PCR.
3) I have personally had the best success with rescuing splice-
blocking morpholino phenotypes. However, if you are using
translation-blockers, a rescue strategy in addition to the ones
outlined by Dr. Moulton is to use mRNA for the orthologous gene from
a different species. The success of this strategy depends on the
orthologous gene behaving the same way in zebrafish, so it is
probably (but not necessarily) best to use a closer relative (e.g.
from Xenopus). It's important to confirm that the target sequence
for the morpholino is not present in the rescue transcript!
Wilson Clements, Ph.D.
wclements at ucsd.edu
Dept. of Biology
Section of Cell and Developmental Biology
University of California at San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr.
Natural Sciences Building 6324
La Jolla, CA 92093-0380
TEL (858) 534-6955
LAB (858) 822-4658
FAX (858) 534-5457
On May 9, 2006, at 10:00 AM, zbrafish-request at oat.bio.indiana.edu wrote:
> Send Zbrafish mailing list submissions to
>zbrafish at net.bio.net>> To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
>http://www.bio.net/biomail/listinfo/zbrafish> or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to
>zbrafish-request at net.bio.net>> You can reach the person managing the list at
>zbrafish-owner at net.bio.net>> When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
> than "Re: Contents of Zbrafish digest..."
>>> Today's Topics:
>> 1. Rescue mRNA (reply to Sami) (Jon D.Moulton)
>> Message: 1
> Date: Mon, 08 May 2006 15:29:19 -0700
> From: "Jon D.Moulton" <jmoulton at gene-tools.com>
> Subject: [Zbrafish] Rescue mRNA (reply to Sami)
> To: bionet-organisms-zebrafish at moderators.isc.org> Message-ID: <445FC63F.9030103 at gene-tools.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
>> Good day Sami,
>> This is Jon from Gene Tools. I may be able to help a bit. I won't
> address your question directly, there are plenty of folks on this
> more experienced in expressing mRNA for rescues. However, I'll offer
> some strategic advice that you might find useful -- or at least that
> might stimulate some conversation about rescues among Morpholino
>> The mRNA rescue is an excellent proof-of-specificity experiment but
> not work for some genes. For this experiment, an mRNA is injected
> codes for the same protein that the Morpholino oligo knocks down, but
> the rescue mRNA has a modified Morpholino binding site so that the
> Morpholino target is not present on the rescue mRNA. For many genes,
> injecting the Morpholino alone results in a morphant phenotype, while
> coinjection of the proper concentration of Morpholino and rescue mRNA
> results in a wild-type embryo. However, the timing of the onset of
> translation is critical for some developmental genes and the early
> of translation resulting from co-injection of Morpholino and rescue
> in the early zygote may mess up the developmental process so that the
> embryos never recapitulate the wild-type phenotype.
>> That said, the rescue is a very satisfying control when it is
> successful. If you are planning on using mRNA rescues, I recommend
> you have your Morpholino targeted in the 5'-UTR without extending into
> the coding sequence. Some folks have tried rescuing Morpholinos
> targeted to the coding sequence by taking advantage of the degenerate
> genetic code to design mismatches into their rescue mRNAs which do not
> change the amino acids from those encoded by the endogenous mRNA (e.g.
> wobble mismatches). While this strategy makes sense it has not in
> practice been reliable -- it is better to start with a 5'-UTR
> so that you can retain the original sequence of the coding region and
> use an irrelevant 5'-UTR sequence for your rescue mRNA.
>> There is a different strategy for confirming specificity which you
> should be aware of. This is the two non-overlapping 5'-UTR oligos
> experiment. Of course, I'd like to make another oligo for you, but
> there is another reason to prefer this experiment over the mRNA
> the early onset of translation resulting from injection of a rescue
> may alter development from wild-type patterns, while confirming
> specificity with the non-overlapping 5'-UTR oligos experiment
> that risk.
>> The two non-overlapping 5'-UTR oligos experiment involves comparing
> phenotype induced by injection of two different oligos targeted to
> translation of the same mRNA. If both sequences induce the same
> phenotype, that supports the hypothesis that the observed phenotype is
> due to knockdown of the targeted gene. This has become a very commonly
> used test of specificity in the zebrafish community.
>> A variant on this experiment is to use a splice blocking Morpholino to
> produce the same phenotype as the translation blocking oligo; while
> is a nice experiment when it works, it can be difficult to determine
> which exon to target in order to knock down the activity of the
> and phenocopy the translation blocker's effect. Yet another
> variation is
> the two-splice-blocker experiment, in which the same exon is
> targeted in
> separate experiments by a splice donor blocker and a splice acceptor
> blocker. If both of the oligos when used individually cause a clean
> excision, the phenotypes induced by the two oligos should be identical
> and, again, the hypothesis that the phenotype was triggered by
> excision of the exon is supported. However, activation of a cryptic
> splice site can confound the experiments using splice-blockers so
> identical results indicate specific knockdown, dissimilar results
> do not
> preclude that interaction with the pre-mRNA was specific.
>> Let me know how I can help.
>> - Jon
>> Jon D. Moulton, Ph.D.
> Special Projects and Customer Support
> GENE TOOLS, LLC
>jmoulton at gene-tools.com> www.gene-tools.com
> (541) 929-7840 x1201
> Zbrafish mailing list
>Zbrafish at net.bio.net>http://www.bio.net/biomail/listinfo/zbrafish>> End of Zbrafish Digest, Vol 12, Issue 5