Whole-body imaging with fluorescent proteins

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(3):1429-38. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.223.


The intrinsic brightness of fluorescent proteins has been taken advantage of to develop a technology of whole-body imaging of tumors and gene expression in mouse internal organs. Stable transformation with fluorescent protein genes can be effected using retroviral vectors containing a selectable marker such as neomycin resistance. The cells that stably express fluorescent proteins can then be transplanted into appropriate mouse models. For whole-body imaging, nude mice are very appropriate. If wild-type mice are used, then hair must be removed by shaving or depilation. The instruments used can range from a simple LED flashlight and appropriate excitation and emission filters to sophisticated equipment such as the Olympus OV100 with a wide range of magnification, enabling both macroimaging and microimaging. It is crucial that proper filters be used such that background autofluorescence is minimal. Fluorescent protein-based imaging technology can be used for whole-body imaging of fluorescent cells on essentially all organs. The timeline for these experiments varies from 2 days to 2 months.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Gene Expression*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Transformation, Genetic / genetics
  • Viscera / metabolism*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins