Generation of a novel nkx6-1 venus fusion reporter mouse line

Ingo Burtscher, Marta Tarquis-Medina, Ciro Salinno, Silvia Schirge, Julia Beckenbauer, Mostafa Bakhti, Heiko Lickert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nkx6-1 is a member of the Nkx family of homeodomain transcription factors (TFs) that regulates motor neuron development, neuron specification and pancreatic endocrine and β-cell differentiation. To facilitate the isolation and tracking of Nkx6-1-expressing cells, we have generated a novel Nkx6-1 Venus fusion (Nkx6-1-VF) reporter allele. The Nkx6-1-VF knock-in reporter is regulated by endogenous cis-regulatory elements of Nkx6-1 and the fluorescent protein fusion does not interfere with the TF function, as homozygous mice are viable and fertile. The nuclear localization of Nkx6-1-VF protein reflects the endogenous Nkx6-1 protein distribution. During embryonic pancreas development, the reporter protein marks the pancreatic ductal progenitors and the endocrine lineage, but is absent in the exocrine compartment. As expected, the levels of Nkx6-1-VF reporter are upregulated upon β-cell differentiation during the major wave of endocrinogenesis. In the adult islets of Langerhans, the reporter protein is exclusively found in insulin-secreting β-cells. Importantly, the Venus reporter activities allow successful tracking of β-cells in live-cell imaging and their specific isolation by flow sorting. In summary, the generation of the Nkx6-1-VF reporter line reflects the expression pattern and dynamics of the endogenous protein and thus provides a unique tool to study the spatio-temporal expression pattern of this TF during organ development and enables isolation and tracking of Nkx6-1-expressing cells such as pancreatic β-cells, but also neurons and motor neurons in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3434
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Volume22
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Endocrine lineage
  • Fluorescent reporter
  • Live imaging
  • Nkx6-1
  • Pancreas development
  • Secondary transition
  • β-cells

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