GFP transgenic mice reveal active canonical Wnt signal in neonatal brain and in adult liver and spleen



In the past decades, the function of the Wnt canonical pathway during embryogenesis has been intensively investigated; however, little survey of neonatal and adult tissues has been made, and the role of this pathway remains largely unknown. To investigate its role in mature tissues, we generated two new reporter transgenic mouse lines, ins-TOPEGFP and ins-TOPGAL, that drive EGFP and β-galactosidase expression under TCF/β-catenin, respectively. To obtain the accurate expression pattern, we flanked these transgenes with the HS4 insulator to reduce chromosomal positional effects. Analysis of embryos showed that the reporter genes were activated in regions where canonical Wnt activity has been implicated. Furthermore, their expression patterns were consistent in both lines, indicating the accuracy of the reporter signal. In the neonatal brain, the reporter signal was detected in the mesencephalon and hippocampus. In the adult mice, the reporter signal was found in the mature pericenteral hepatocytes in the normal liver. Furthermore, during inflammation the number of T cells expressing the reporter gene increased in the adult spleen. Thus, in this research, we identified two organs, i.e., the liver and spleen, as novel organs in which the Wnt canonical signal is in motion in the adult. These transgenic lines will provide us broader opportunities to investigate the function of the Wnt canonical pathway in vivo. genesis 45:90–100, 2007. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.