Leptin, a hormone secreted by peripheral adipose tissues, regulates the appetite in animals. Recently, evidence has shown that leptin also plays roles in behavioral response in addition to controlling appetite. In this study, we examined the potential function of leptin on non-appetite behaviors
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Leptin, a hormone secreted by peripheral adipose tissues, regulates the appetite in animals. Recently, evidence has shown that leptin also plays roles in behavioral response in addition to controlling appetite. In this study, we examined the potential function of leptin on non-appetite behaviors in zebrafish model. By using genome editing tool of Transcription activator-like effector nuclease (TALEN), we successfully knocked out leptin a (lepa
) gene by deleting 4 bp within coding region to create a premature-translation stop. Morphological and appetite analysis showed the lepa
KO fish display a phenotype with obese, good appetite and elevation of Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) and Ghrelin hormones, consistent with the canonical function of leptin in controlling food intake. By multiple behavior endpoint analyses, including novel tank, mirror biting, predator avoidance, social interaction, shoaling, circadian rhythm, and color preference assay, we found the lepa
KO fish display an anxiogenic phenotype showing hyperactivity with rapid swimming, less freezing time, less fear to predator, loose shoaling area forming, and circadian rhythm and color preference dysregulations. Using biochemical assays, melatonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine and serotonin levels in the brain were found to be significantly reduced in lepa
KO fish, while the levels of dopamine, glycine and cortisol in the brain were significantly elevated. In addition, the brain ROS level was elevated, and the anti-oxidative enzyme catalase level was reduced. Taken together, by performing loss-of-function multiple behavior endpoint testing and biochemical analysis, we provide strong evidence for a critical role of lepa
gene in modulating anxiety, aggression, fear, and circadian rhythm behaviors in zebrafish for the first time.