Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Álvarez M., Reynaert N., Chávez M.N., Aedo G., Araya F., Hopfner U., Fernández J., Allende M.L. and Egaña J.T. (2015)

Generation of Viable Plant-Vertebrate Chimeras

Revista : PLOS One
Volumen : 10
Número : 6
Páginas : 12pp
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


The extreme dependence on external oxygen supply observed in animals causes major clinical problems and several diseases are related to low oxygen tension in tissues. The vast majority of the animals do not produce oxygen but a few exceptions have shown that photosynthetic capacity is physiologically compatible with animal life. Such symbiotic photosynthetic relationships are restricted to a few aquatic invertebrates. In this work we aimed to explore if we could create a chimerical organism by incorporating photosynthetic eukaryotic cells into a vertebrate animal model. Here, the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii was injected into zebrafish eggs and the interaction and viability of both organisms were studied. Results show that microalgae were distributed into different tissues, forming a fish-alga chimera organism for a prolonged period of time. In addition, microscopic observation of injected algae, in vivo expression of their mRNA and re-growth of the algae ex vivo suggests that they survived to the developmental process, living for several days after injection. Moreover microalgae did not trigger a significant inflammatory response in the fish. This work provides additional evidence to support the possibility that photosynthetic vertebrates can be engineered.