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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 658270, 12 pages
Review Article

“Zebrafishing” for Novel Genes Relevant to the Glomerular Filtration Barrier

1Division of Nephrology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Strße 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany
2Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, P.O. Box 35, Old Bar Harbor Road, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672, USA

Received 2 April 2013; Accepted 15 July 2013

Academic Editor: Richard Tucker

Copyright © 2013 Nils Hanke et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Data for genes relevant to glomerular filtration barrier function or proteinuria is continually increasing in an era of microarrays, genome-wide association studies, and quantitative trait locus analysis. Researchers are limited by published literature searches to select the most relevant genes to investigate. High-throughput cell cultures and other in vitro systems ultimately need to demonstrate proof in an in vivo model. Generating mammalian models for the genes of interest is costly and time intensive, and yields only a small number of test subjects. These models also have many pitfalls such as possible embryonic mortality and failure to generate phenotypes or generate nonkidney specific phenotypes. Here we describe an in vivo zebrafish model as a simple vertebrate screening system to identify genes relevant to glomerular filtration barrier function. Using our technology, we are able to screen entirely novel genes in 4–6 weeks in hundreds of live test subjects at a fraction of the cost of a mammalian model. Our system produces consistent and reliable evidence for gene relevance in glomerular kidney disease; the results then provide merit for further analysis in mammalian models.