A pinboard by
Delfine Cheng

PhD student, The University of Sydney


I study the structure and function of the zebrafish digestive system, particularly the liver to determine the similarities and differences between that of humans to determine if and to which extend we can use the zebrafish as an animal model for liver drug-delivery and liver diseases studies such as cancer.


Zebrafish as a Model Organism for the Development of Drugs for Skin Cancer.

Abstract: Skin cancer, which includes melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, represents the most common type of cutaneous malignancy worldwide, and its incidence is expected to rise in the near future. This condition derives from acquired genetic dysregulation of signaling pathways involved in the proliferation and apoptosis of skin cells. The development of animal models has allowed a better understanding of these pathomechanisms, with the possibility of carrying out toxicological screening and drug development. In particular, the zebrafish (Danio rerio) has been established as one of the most important model organisms for cancer research. This model is particularly suitable for live cell imaging and high-throughput drug screening in a large-scale fashion. Thanks to the recent advances in genome editing, such as the clustered regularly-interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9) methodologies, the mechanisms associated with cancer development and progression, as well as drug resistance can be investigated and comprehended. With these unique tools, the zebrafish represents a powerful platform for skin cancer research in the development of target therapies. Here, we will review the advantages of using the zebrafish model for drug discovery and toxicological and phenotypical screening. We will focus in detail on the most recent progress in the field of zebrafish model generation for the study of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), including cancer cell injection and transgenic animal development. Moreover, we will report the latest compounds and small molecules under investigation in melanoma zebrafish models.

Pub.: 19 Jul '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Relocation is the key to successful correlative fluorescence and scanning electron microscopy.

Abstract: In this chapter the authors report on an automated hardware and software solution enabling swift correlative sample array mapping of fluorescently stained molecules within cells and tissues across length scales. Samples are first observed utilizing wide-field optical and fluorescence microscopy, followed by scanning electron microscopy, using calibration points on a dedicated sample-relocation holder. We investigated HeLa cells in vitro, fluorescently labeled for monosialoganglioside one (GM-1), across both imaging platforms within tens of minutes of initial sample preparation. This resulted in a high-throughput and high spatially resolved correlative fluorescence and electron microscopy analysis and allowed us to collect complementary nanoscopic information on the molecular and structural composition of two differently distinct HeLa cell populations expressing different levels of GM-1. Furthermore, using the small zebrafish animal model Danio rerio, we showed the versatility and relocation accuracy of the sample-relocation holder to locate fluo-tagged macromolecular complexes within large volumes using long ribbons of serial tissue sections. The subsequent electron microscopy imaging of the tissue arrays of interest enabled the generation of correlated information on the fine distribution of albumin within hepatic and kidney tissue. Our approach underpins the merits that an automated sample-relocation holder solution brings in support of results-driven research, where relevant biological questions can be answered, and high-throughput data can be generated in a rigorous statistical manner.

Pub.: 23 May '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17

Inducible liver-specific overexpression of gankyrin in zebrafish results in spontaneous intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma formation.

Abstract: Liver cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. As such, establishing animal models of the disease is important for both basic and translational studies that move toward developing new therapies. Gankyrin is a critical oncoprotein in the genetic control of liver pathology. In order to evaluate the oncogenic role of gankyrin without cancer cell inoculation and drug treatment, we overexpressed gankyrin under the control of the fabp10a promoter. A Tet-Off system was used to drive expression in hepatocytes. At seven to twelve months of age, gankyrin transgenic fish spontaneously incurred persistent hepatocyte damage, steatosis, cholestasis, cholangitis, fibrosis and hepatic tumors. The tumors were both hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). ICC is the second most frequent primary liver cancer in human patients and the first to develop in this tumor model. We further investigated the role of complement C3, a central molecule of the complement system, and found the expression levels of both in mRNA and protein are decreased during tumorigenesis. Together, these findings suggest that gankyrin can promote malignant transformation of liver cells in the context of persistent liver injury. This transformation may be related to compensatory proliferation and the inflammatory microenvironment. The observed decrease in complement C3 may allow transforming cells to escape coordinated induction of the immune response. Herein, we demonstrate an excellent zebrafish model for liver cancers that will be useful for studying the molecular mechanisms of tumorgenesis.

Pub.: 03 Jul '17, Pinned: 31 Aug '17