Engineered cell lines for fish health research
As fish farming continues to increase worldwide, the related research areas of fish disease and immunology are also expanding, aided by the revolution in access to genomic information and molecular technology. The genomes of most fish species of economic importance are now available and annotation based on sequence homology with characterised genomes is underway. However, while useful, functional homology is more difficult to determine, there being a lack of widely distributed and well characterised reagents such as monoclonal antibodies, traditionally used in mammalian studies, to help with confirming functions and cellular interactions of fish molecules. In this context, fish cell lines and the possibility of their genetic engineering offer good prospects for studying functional genomics with respect to fish diseases. In this review, we will give an overview of available permanently genetically engineered fish cell lines, as cell-based reporter systems or platforms for expression of endogenous immune or pathogen genes, to investigate interactions and function. The advantages of such systems and the technical challenge for their development will be discussed.