Efficient creation of an APOE knockout rabbit

Abstract

The rabbit is a preferred model system for diverse areas of human disease research, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, for its close resemblance to human physiology. Its larger size than that of rodents allows for more convenient physiological and surgical manipulations as well as imaging. The rapid development of nuclease technologies enables the rabbit genome to be engineered as readily as that of rats and mice, offering rabbit models a chance to make their due impact on medical research. Here, we report the efficient creation of an APOE knockout rabbit by using zinc finger nucleases. The knockout rabbits had drastically elevated cholesterol and moderately increased triglyceride levels, mimicking symptoms in human heart disease. So far the rabbit genome has been successfully modified with three nuclease technologies. With a gestation period only days longer than those of rodents, we hope additional reports on their creation and characterization will help encourage the use of rabbit models where they are most relevant to human conditions.

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Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Eliezer Kopf and Fishel Alon for housing, breeding, and tissue sampling for genotyping and serum analysis, and Zsuzsanna Bosze for embryo microinjection service.

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Correspondence to Edward J. Weinstein.

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Ji, D., Zhao, G., Songstad, A. et al. Efficient creation of an APOE knockout rabbit. Transgenic Res 24, 227–235 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11248-014-9834-8

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Keywords

  • Gene targeting
  • Knockout rabbit
  • Animal model
  • APOE
  • Zinc finger nuclease (ZFN)