Filipiak, Hughes, Gavrilina, LaForest, Saunders (2019) Next Generation Transgenic Rat Model Production Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 2018() 97-114


The next generation of new genetically engineered rat models by microinjection is described. Genome editors such as CRISPR/Cas9 have greatly increased the efficiency with which the rat genome can be modified to generate research models for biomedical research. Pronuclear microinjection of transgene DNA into rat zygotes results in random multicopy transgene integration events that use exogenous promoters to drive expression. Best practices in transgenic animal design indicate the use of precise single copy transgene integration in the genome. This ideal can be achieved by repair of CRISPR/Cas9 chromosome breaks by homology directed repair. The most effective way to achieve this type of transgenic rat model is to deliver genome modification reagents to rat zygotes by pronuclear microinjection. The keys to success in this process are to obtain fertilized eggs (zygotes) from the rat strain of choice, to purify the microinjection reagents, to deliver the reagents to the eggs by pronuclear microinjection, to use the surgical transfer of microinjected eggs to pseudopregnant rats to obtain G0 founder animals that carry the novel genetic modification. Ultimately the success of new rat models is measured by changes in gene expression as in the expression of a new reporter protein such as eGFP, Cre recombinase, or other protein of interest.