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Prodrug dependent cell ablation is a method that allows inducible and spatially restricted cell destruction. We describe transgenic methods to express the Escherichia coli nfsB in a tissue restricted manner in the zebrafish. This bacterial gene encodes a nitroreductase (NTR) enzyme that can render prodrugs such as metronidazole (Met) cytotoxic. Using the expression of NTR fused to a fluorescent protein, one can simultaneously make cells susceptible to prodrug treatment and visualize cell ablation as it occurs.


Harshan Pisharath, Michael J Parsons. Nitroreductase-mediated cell ablation in transgenic zebrafish embryos. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2009;546:133-43

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PMID: 19378102

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