Dynamic imaging of gene expression in live animals is among the exciting challenges of molecular imaging. To achieve that, one of the approaches is to use reporter genes that encode for the synthesis of easily detectable products. Such reporter genes can be designed to be expressed under the control of the regulatory elements included in a promoter region of a gene of interest, thus allowing the use of the same reporter gene for the detection of multiple genes. The most commonly used reporter genes include the firefly light-generating enzyme luciferase and the green fluorescent protein detectable by bioluminescence and fluorescence optical imaging, respectively. Over the last years a number of studies demonstrated the ability to use the iron-binding protein ferritin as a reporter gene that allows the detection of gene expression by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI provides high spatial resolution and soft tissue contrast for deep tissues along with a large arsenal of functional and anatomical contrast mechanisms that can be correlated with gene expression, and can potentially be translated into clinical use Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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