Imaging cyclic AMP changes in pancreatic islets of transgenic reporter mice

PLoS One. 2008 May 7;3(5):e2127. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002127.


Cyclic AMP (cAMP) and Ca(2+) are two ubiquitous second messengers in transduction pathways downstream of receptors for hormones, neurotransmitters and local signals. The availability of fluorescent Ca(2+) reporter dyes that are easily introduced into cells and tissues has facilitated analysis of the dynamics and spatial patterns for Ca(2+) signaling pathways. A similar dissection of the role of cAMP has lagged because indicator dyes do not exist. Genetically encoded reporters for cAMP are available but they must be introduced by transient transfection in cell culture, which limits their utility. We report here that we have produced a strain of transgenic mice in which an enhanced cAMP reporter is integrated in the genome and can be expressed in any targeted tissue and with tetracycline induction. We have expressed the cAMP reporter in beta-cells of pancreatic islets and conducted an analysis of intracellular cAMP levels in relation to glucose stimulation, Ca(2+) levels, and membrane depolarization. Pancreatic function in transgenic mice was normal. In induced transgenic islets, glucose evoked an increase in cAMP in beta-cells in a dose-dependent manner. The cAMP response is independent of (in fact, precedes) the Ca(2+) influx that results from glucose stimulation of islets. Glucose-evoked cAMP responses are synchronous in cells throughout the islet and occur in 2 phases suggestive of the time course of insulin secretion. Insofar as cAMP in islets is known to potentiate insulin secretion, the novel transgenic mouse model will for the first time permit detailed analyses of cAMP signals in beta-cells within islets, i.e. in their native physiological context. Reporter expression in other tissues (such as the heart) where cAMP plays a critical regulatory role, will permit novel biomedical approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glucose / physiology
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / physiology
  • Islets of Langerhans / physiology*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • yellow fluorescent protein, Bacteria
  • Colforsin
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Glucose