Andrews OE, Cha DJ, Wei C, Patton JG
RNAi based strategies to induce gene silencing are commonly employed in numerous model organisms but have not been extensively used in zebrafish. We found that introduction of transgenes containing convergent transcription units in zebrafish embryos induced stable transcriptional gene silencing (TGS) in cis and trans for reporter (mCherry) and endogenous (One-Eyed Pinhead (OEP) and miR-27a/b) genes. Convergent transcription enabled detection of both sense and antisense transcripts and silencing was suppressed upon Dicer knockdown, indicating processing of double stranded RNA. By ChIP analyses, increased silencing was accompanied by enrichment of the heterochromatin mark H3K9me3 in the two convergently arranged promoters and in the intervening reading frame. Our work demonstrates that convergent transcription can induce gene silencing in zebrafish providing another tool to create specific temporal and spatial control of gene expression.