Many challenges, such as virus infection, extreme weather and long cultivation periods, during the development of fish larvae have been observed, especially in aquaculture. Gene delivery is a useful method to express functional genes to defend against these challengers. However, the methods for fish larvae are insufficient. In our earlier report, low-molecular-weight chitosan (LMWCS) showed a strong positive charge and may be useful for polyplex formulation. Herein, we present a simple self-assembly of LMWCS polyplexes (LMWCSrNPs) for gene delivery into zebrafish larvae. Different weight ratios of LMWCS/gamma-polyglutamic acid (γ-PGA)/plasmid DNA were analyzed by gel mobility assay. Delivery efficiency determined by green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in zebrafish liver (ZFL) cells showed that delivery efficiency at a weight ratio of 20:8:1 was higher than others. Zeta potential and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis showed that the round shape of the particle size varied. In our earlier reports, IRF9S2C could induce interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression to induce innate immunity in zebrafish and pufferfish. Further delivery of pcDNA3-IRF9S2C-HA plasmid DNA into ZFL cells and zebrafish larvae by LMWCSrNP successfully induced ISG expression. Collectively, LMWCSrNP could be a novel gene delivery system for zebrafish larvae and might be used to improve applications in aquaculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)384-394
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Delivery
  • Gamma-polyglutamic acid
  • Innate immunity
  • Low-molecular-weight chitosan
  • Polyplex
  • Zebrafish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • General Energy


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