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Dev Biol July 1, 2021; 475 21-29.
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Conditional gene knockdowns in sea urchins using caged morpholinos.

Bardhan A , Deiters A , Ettensohn CA .

Echinoderms are important experimental models for analyzing embryonic development, but a lack of spatial and temporal control over gene perturbations has hindered developmental studies using these animals. Morpholino antisense oligonucleotides (MOs) have been used successfully by the echinoderm research community for almost two decades, and MOs remain the most widely used tool for acute gene knockdowns in these organisms. Echinoderm embryos develop externally and are optically transparent, making them ideally-suited to many light-based approaches for analyzing and manipulating development. Studies using zebrafish embryos have demonstrated the effectiveness of photoactivatable (caged) MOs for conditional gene knockdowns. Here we show that caged MOs, synthesized using nucleobase-caged monomers, provide light-regulated control over gene expression in sea urchin embryos. Our work provides the first robust approach for conditional gene silencing in this prominent model system.

PubMed ID: 33684434
PMC ID: PMC9026969
Article link: Dev Biol
Grant support: [+]

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 mos
Morpholinos: LOC115920638 MO1 vegf3l MO1