Phenotyping of Acute Nicotine Response Behavior in Larval Zebrafish

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-6-2023


The alpha 3 (chrna3), alpha 5 (chrna5), and beta 4 (chrnb4) receptor genes of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine have been connected to both the onset and heavy smoking in humans. Zebrafish represent a model system for studying the role of genes in behavioral responses to nicotine. The goal of this project was to develop behavioral tests for the characterization of zebrafish gene-knockout mutants that we are developing using CRISPR/Cas9 and zebrafish from the Sanger Mutation Project. Larval zebrafish were used to look at differences in behavior between the wild types and mutated larval zebrafish at different concentrations of nicotine. The different concentrations allowed us to study nicotine sensitivity and acute nicotine response in the larval zebrafish. The acute nicotine response tests and pharmacological treatments with different nicotine cessation drugs and acetylcholine receptor blockers were carried out to determine the effect of the knockout mutation. Overall, the larval zebrafish showed higher movement activity when placed in higher concentrations of nicotine.


Funding provided by the Science Research Fellows Program

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