Transgenic nude mice ubiquitously expressing fluorescent proteins for color-coded imaging of the tumor microenvironment.
We have developed a transgenic green fluorescent protein (GFP) nude mouse with ubiquitous GFP expression. The GFP nude mouse was obtained by crossing nontransgenic nude mice with the transgenic C57/B6 mouse in which the ?-actin promoter drives GFP expression in essentially all tissues. In the adult mice, many organs brightly expressed GFP, including the spleen, heart, lungs, spleen, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, and duodenum as well as the circulatory system. The liver expressed GFP at a lesser level. The red fluorescent protein (RFP) transgenic nude mouse was obtained by crossing non-transgenic nude mice with the transgenic C57/B6 mouse in which the beta-actin promoter drives RFP (DsRed2) expression in essentially all tissues. In the RFP nude mouse, the organs all brightly expressed RFP, including the heart, lungs, spleen, pancreas, esophagus, stomach, liver, duodenum, the male and female reproductive systems; brain and spinal cord; and the circulatory system, including the heart, and major arteries and veins. The skinned skeleton highly expressed RFP. The bone marrow and spleen cells were also RFP positive. The cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) nude mouse was developed by crossing nontransgenic nude mice with the transgenic CK/ECFP mouse in which the ?-actin promoter drives expression of CFP in almost all tissues. In the CFP nude mice, the pancreas and reproductive organs displayed the strongest fluorescence signals of all internal organs, which vary in intensity. The GFP, RFP, and CFP nude mice when transplanted with cancer cells of another color are powerful models for color-coded imaging of the tumor microenvironment (TME) at the cellular level.