A GFP-equipped bidirectional expression module well suited for monitoring tetracycline-regulated gene expression in mouse

Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Apr 1;29(7):E39. doi: 10.1093/nar/29.7.e39.


Doxycycline (Dox)-sensitive co-regulation of two transcriptionally coupled transgenes was investigated in the mouse. For this, we generated four independent mouse lines carrying coding regions for green fluorescent protein (GFP) and beta-galactosidase in a bicistronic, bidirectional module. In all four lines the expression module was silent but was activated when transcription factor tTA was provided by the alpha-CaMKII-tTA transgene. In vivo analysis of GFP fluorescence, beta-galactosidase and immunochemical stainings revealed differences in GFP and beta-galactosidase levels between the lines, but comparable patterns of expression. Strong signals were found in neurons of the olfactory system, neocortical, limbic lobe and basal ganglia structures. Weaker expression was limited to thalamic, pontine and medullary structures, the spinal cord, the eye and to some Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. Strong GFP signals were always accompanied by intense beta-galactosidase activity, both of which could be co-regulated by Dox. We conclude that the tTA-sensitive bidirectional expression module is well suited to express genes of interest in a regulated manner and that GFP can be used to track transcriptional activity of the module in the living mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Doxycycline / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Humans
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / drug effects
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Tetracycline / pharmacology*
  • Transcriptional Activation / drug effects
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Tetracycline
  • Doxycycline