• albino frog;
  • targeted gene knockout;
  • tyrosinase;
  • Xenopus tropicalis ;
  • zinc-finger nuclease

To generate albino lines of Xenopus tropicalis, we injected fertilized eggs with mRNAs encoding zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) targeting the tyrosinase coding region. Surprisingly, vitiligo was observed on the skin of F0 frogs that had been injected with ZFN mRNAs, indicating that both tyrosinase genes in the genome were disrupted in all melanocytes within the vitiligo patches. Mutation analysis using genomic DNA from the skin revealed that two mosaic F0 frogs underwent spatially complex tyrosinase gene mutations. The data implies that the ZFN-induced tyrosinase gene ablations occurred randomly over space and time throughout the entire body, possibly until the young tadpole stage, and that melanocyte precursors lacking functional tyrosinase proliferated and formed vitiligo patches. Several albino X. tropicalis, which are compound heterozygotes for biallelic tyrosinase mutations, were obtained by mating the mosaic F0 frogs. To our knowledge, this is the first report of the albino vertebrates generated by the targeted gene knockout.