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Current laboratory models of lymphatic metastasis generally require either genetically modified animals or are technically challenging. Herein, we have developed a robust protocol for the induction of intralymphatic metastasis in wild-type mice with reproducible outcomes. To determine an optimal injection quantity and timeline for tumorigenesis, C57Bl/6 mice were injected directly into the mesenteric lymph duct (MLD) with varying numbers of syngeneic murine colon cancer cells (MC38) or gastric cancer cells (YTN16) expressing GFP/luciferase and monitored over 2-4 weeks. Tumor growth was tracked via whole-animal in vivo bioluminescence imaging (IVIS). Our data indicate that the injection of tumor cells into the MLD is a viable model for lymphatic metastasis as necropsies revealed large tumor burdens and metastasis in regional lymph nodes. This protocol enables a closer study of the role of lymphatics in cancer metastasis and opens a window for the development of novel approaches for treatment of metastatic diseases.
Fibrosis accompanying wound healing can drive the failure of many different organs. Activated fibroblasts are the principal determinants of post-injury pathological fibrosis along with physiological repair, making them a difficult therapeutic target. Although activated fibroblasts are phenotypically heterogeneous, they are not recognized as distinct functional entities. Using mice that express GFP under the FSP1 or αSMA promoter, we characterized two non-overlapping fibroblast subtypes from mouse hearts after myocardial infarction. Here, we report the identification of FSP1-GFP cells as a non-pericyte, non-hematopoietic fibroblast subpopulation with a predominant pro-angiogenic role, characterized by in vitro phenotypic/cellular/ultrastructural studies and in vivo granulation tissue formation assays combined with transcriptomics and proteomics. This work identifies a fibroblast subtype that is functionally distinct from the pro-fibrotic αSMA-expressing myofibroblast subtype. Our study has the potential to shift our focus towards viewing fibroblasts as molecularly and functionally heterogeneous and provides a paradigm to approach treatment for organ fibrosis.
GFP labeling by genome editing can reveal the authentic location of a native protein, but is frequently hampered by weak GFP signals and broad expression across a range of tissues that may obscure cell-specific localization. To overcome these problems, we engineered a Native And Tissue-specific Fluorescence (NATF) strategy that combines genome editing and split-GFP to yield bright, cell-specific protein labeling. We use clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats CRISPR/Cas9 to insert a tandem array of seven copies of the GFP11 β-strand ( ) at the genomic locus of each target protein. The resultant knock-in strain is then crossed with separate reporter lines that express the complementing split-GFP fragment () in specific cell types, thus affording tissue-specific labeling of the target protein at its native level. We show that NATF reveals the otherwise undetectable intracellular location of the immunoglobulin protein OIG-1 and demarcates the receptor auxiliary protein LEV-10 at cell-specific synaptic domains in the nervous system.
Copyright © 2019 by the Genetics Society of America.
Fluorescent protein reporter genes are widely used to identify and sort murine pancreatic β-cells. In this study, we compared use of the MIP-GFP transgene, which exhibits aberrant expression of human growth hormone (hGH), with a newly derived Ins2 allele that lacks hGH expression on the expression of sex-specific genes. β-Cells from MIP-GFP transgenic mice exhibit changes in the expression of 7,733 genes, or greater than half of their transcriptome, compared with β-cells from Ins2 mice. To determine how these differences might affect a typical differential gene expression study, we analyzed the effect of sex on gene expression using both reporter lines. Six hundred fifty-seven differentially expressed genes were identified between male and female β-cells containing the Ins2 allele. Female β-cells exhibit higher expression of Xist, Tmed9, Arpc3, Eml2, and several islet-enriched transcription factors, including Nkx2-2 and Hnf4a, whereas male β-cells exhibited a generally higher expression of genes involved in cell cycle regulation. In marked contrast, the same male vs. female comparison of β-cells containing the MIP-GFP transgene revealed only 115 differentially expressed genes, and comparison of the 2 lists of differentially expressed genes revealed only 17 that were common to both analyses. These results indicate that 1) male and female β-cells differ in their expression of key transcription factors and cell cycle regulators and 2) the MIP-GFP transgene may attenuate sex-specific differences that distinguish male and female β-cells, thereby impairing the identification of sex-specific variations.
We used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock-in reporter transgenes at the kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) locus and isolated human proximal tubule cell (HK-2) clones. PCR verified targeted knock-in of the luciferase and eGFP reporter at the KIM-1 locus. HK-2-KIM-1 reporter cells responded to various stimuli including hypoxia, cisplatin, and high glucose, indicative of upregulation of KIM-1 expression. We attempted using CRISPR/Cas9 to also engineer the KIM-1 reporter in telomerase-immortalized human RPTEC cells. However, these cells demonstrated an inability to undergo homologous recombination at the target locus. KIM-1-reporter human proximal tubular cells could be valuable tools in drug discovery for molecules inhibiting kidney injury. Additionally, our gene targeting strategy could be used in other cell lines to evaluate the biology of KIM-1 in vitro or in vivo.
Higher-order structures of the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton are comprised of two architectures: bundles and asters. Although both architectures are critical for cellular function, the molecular pathways that drive aster formation are poorly understood. Here, we study aster formation by human minus-end-directed kinesin-14 (HSET/KIFC1). We show that HSET is incapable of forming asters from preformed, nongrowing MTs, but rapidly forms MT asters in the presence of soluble (non-MT) tubulin. HSET binds soluble (non-MT) tubulin via its N-terminal tail domain to form heterogeneous HSET-tubulin clusters containing multiple motors. Cluster formation induces motor processivity and rescues the formation of asters from nongrowing MTs. We then show that excess soluble (non-MT) tubulin stimulates aster formation in HeLa cells overexpressing HSET during mitosis. We propose a model where HSET can toggle between MT bundle and aster formation in a manner governed by the availability of soluble (non-MT) tubulin.
Store-operated calcium entry (SOCE), a fundamentally important homeostatic and Ca signaling pathway in many types of cells, is activated by the direct interaction of stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca-binding protein, with Ca-selective Orai1 channels localized in the plasma membrane. While much is known about the regulation of SOCE by STIM1, the role of stromal interaction molecule 2 (STIM2) in SOCE remains incompletely understood. Here, using clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats -CRISPR associated protein 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) genomic editing and molecular imaging, we investigated the function of STIM2 in NIH 3T3 fibroblast and αT3 cell SOCE. We found that deletion of expression reduced SOCE by more than 90% in NIH 3T3 cells. STIM1 expression levels were unaffected in the null cells. However, quantitative confocal fluorescence imaging demonstrated that in the absence of expression, STIM1 did not translocate or form punctae in plasma membrane-associated ER membrane (PAM) junctions following ER Ca store depletion. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) imaging of intact, living cells revealed that the formation of STIM1 and Orai1 complexes in PAM nanodomains was significantly reduced in the knockout cells. Our findings indicate that STIM2 plays an essential role in regulating SOCE in NIH 3T3 and αT3 cells and suggests that dynamic interplay between STIM1 and STIM2 induced by ER Ca store discharge is necessary for STIM1 translocation, its interaction with Orai1, and activation of SOCE.
In the developing hypothalamus, the fat-derived hormone leptin stimulates the growth of axons from the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARH) to other regions that control energy balance. These projections are significantly reduced in leptin deficient (Lep ) mice and this phenotype is largely rescued by neonatal leptin treatments. However, treatment of mature Lep mice is ineffective, suggesting that the trophic action of leptin is limited to a developmental critical period. To temporally delineate closure of this critical period for leptin-stimulated growth, we treated Lep mice with exogenous leptin during a variety of discrete time periods, and measured the density of Agouti-Related Peptide (AgRP) containing projections from the ARH to the ventral part of the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (DMHv), and to the medial parvocellular part of the paraventricular nucleus (PVHmp). The results indicate that leptin loses its neurotrophic potential at or near postnatal day 28. The duration of leptin exposure appears to be important, with 9- or 11-day treatments found to be more effective than shorter (5-day) treatments. Furthermore, leptin treatment for 9 days or more was sufficient to restore AgRP innervation to both the PVHmp and DMHv in Lep females, but only to the DMHv in Lep males. Together, these findings reveal that the trophic actions of leptin are contingent upon timing and duration of leptin exposure, display both target and sex specificity, and that modulation of leptin-dependent circuit formation by each of these factors may carry enduring consequences for feeding behavior, metabolism, and obesity risk.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
During pancreas organogenesis, Neurog3 endocrine-committing cells are generated from a population of Sox9 mitotic progenitors with only a low level of Neurog3 transcriptional activity (Neurog3 ). Low-level Neurog3 protein, in Neurog3 cells, is required to maintain their mitotic endocrine-lineage-primed status. Herein, we describe a Neurog3-driven FUCCI cell-cycle reporter (Neurog3 ) derived from a Neurog3 BAC transgenic reporter that functions as a loxed cassette acceptor (LCA). In cycling Sox9 Neurog3 progenitors, the majority of cells in S-G -M phases have undetectable levels of Neurog3 with increased expression of endocrine progenitor markers, while those in G have low Neurog3 levels with increased expression of endocrine differentiation markers. These findings support a model in which variations in Neurog3 protein levels are coordinated with cell-cycle phase progression in Neurog3 progenitors with entrance into G triggering a concerted effort, beyond increasing Neurog3 levels, to maintain an endocrine-lineage-primed state by initiating expression of the downstream endocrine differentiation program prior to endocrine-commitment.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
EGF receptor (EGFR) is a critical signaling node throughout life. However, it has not been possible to directly visualize endogenous Egfr in mice. Using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, we appended a fluorescent reporter to the C terminus of the Egfr. Homozygous reporter mice appear normal and EGFR signaling is intact in vitro and in vivo. We detect distinct patterns of Egfr expression in progenitor and differentiated compartments in embryonic and adult mice. Systemic delivery of EGF or amphiregulin results in markedly different patterns of Egfr internalization and trafficking in hepatocytes. In the normal intestine, Egfr localizes to the crypt rather than villus compartment, expression is higher in adjacent epithelium than in intestinal tumors, and following colonic injury expression appears in distinct cell populations in the stroma. This reporter, under control of its endogenous regulatory elements, enables in vivo monitoring of the dynamics of Egfr localization and trafficking in normal and disease states.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.