Internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) allow ribosomal access to messenger RNA without a requirement for cap recognition and subsequent scanning to an initiator AUG. Hence, IRESs have been adapted into dicistronic vectors for the expression of more than one gene from a single mRNA. Dicistronic vectors have been used for many applications in mammalian tissue culture and transgenesis. However, whether the IRESs from mammalian viruses function without temporal or spatial restrictions in nonmammalian organisms like zebrafish (Danio rerio) is unknown. Therefore, we have examined the expression capabilities of the encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) IRES during zebrafish embryogenesis. We determined that the EMCV IRES was sufficient to permit detectable expression of several second cistron reporters during zebrafish embryogenesis, including luciferase and green fluorescent protein. This suggests that our dicistronic vectors are suitable for general use in any vertebrate system, from fish to humans.
- Dicistronic gene expression
- Encephalomyocarditis virus
- Internal ribosome entry sites
- Zebrafish (Danio rerio)