Trends in biomarker mice

  • Liver cancer self-reporting mouse. A cassette encoding Tk-ires-Luc was knocked right behind the Afp promoter. Alpha-fetoprotein (Afp) gene is expressed in fetal liver, silenced soon after birth, and highly re-expressed in hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Therefore, the novel reporter mouse model enables dual modality imaging of hepatocarcinogenesis in vivo by positron emission tomography (reporter Tk) and bioluminescence imaging (reporter luciferase). The model spotlights cancer development before neoplastic lesions are evident by histological examination. [Lu et al., Journal of Hepatology 2011 in press]
  • Kidney injury self-reporting mouse. A cassette encoding a double fusion Luc2-mCherry was knocked right behind the Ngal promoter. Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (Ngal) gene was identified in ischemic kidneys and its biomarker potential confirmed then in kidneys injuried during hypoxia, drug toxicity and bacterial infections. As Ngal is not expressed in normal kidney, the new biomarker mouse model enables space-temporal imaging of kidney damage in vivo by bioluminescence imaging (reporter Luc2) and fluorescence imaging (reporter m-Cherry). In the model, the reporter signal correlates with the intensity of the injury and seems more rapid and sensitive than renal biomarkers like serum creatinine. [Paragas et al., Nature Medicine, February 2011]
  • Constant gardener, wanna make a biomarker plant? Here a short protocol describing step-by-step procedures to biolistically introduce fluorescent reporter proteins into lily, tobacco and Arabidopsis pollen grains. [Wang and Jiang, Nature Protocols, March 2011]