Development of the transgenic cyan fluorescent protein (CFP)-expressing nude mouse for "Technicolor" cancer imaging

J Cell Biochem. 2009 May 15;107(2):328-34. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22128.


A major goal for in vivo biology is to develop models which can express multiple colors of fluorescent proteins in order to image many processes simultaneously in real time. Towards this goal, the cyan fluorescent protein (CFP) nude mouse was developed by crossing non-transgenic nude mice with the transgenic CK/ECFP mouse in which the beta-actin promoter drives expression of CFP in almost all tissues. In crosses between nu/nu CFP male mice and nu/+ CFP female mice, approximately 50% of the embryos fluoresced blue. In the CFP nude mice, the pancreas and reproductive organs displayed the strongest fluorescent signals of all internal organs which vary in intensity. Orthotopic implantation of XPA-1 human pancreatic cancer cells expressing red fluorescent protein (RFP); or green fluorescent protein (GFP) in the nucleus and RFP in the cytoplasm, was performed in female nude CFP mice. Color-coded fluorescence imaging of these human pancreatic cancer cells implanted into the bright blue fluorescent pancreas of the CFP nude mouse afforded novel insight into the interaction of the pancreatic tumor and the normal pancreas, in particular the strong desmoplastic reaction of the tumor. The naturally enhanced blue fluorescence of the pancreas in the CFP mouse serves as an ideal background for color-coded imaging of the interaction of implanted cancer cells and the host. The CFP nude mouse will provide unique understanding of the critical interplay between the cancer cells and their microenvironment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology*


  • Cyan Fluorescent Protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins