Cre/loxP-dependent expression of fluorescent proteins represents a powerful biological tool for cell lineage, fate-mapping, and genetic analysis. Live tissue imaging has significantly improved with the development of far-red fluorescent proteins, with optimized spectral characteristics for in vivo applications. Here, we report the generation of the first transgenic mouse line expressing the far-red fluorescent protein Katushka, driven by the hybrid CAG promoter upon Cre-mediated recombination. After germ line or tissue-specific Cre-driven reporter activation, Katushka expression is strong and ubiquitous, without toxic effects, allowing fluorescence detection in fresh and fixed samples from all tissues examined. Moreover, fluorescence can be detected by in vivo noninvasive whole-body imaging when Katuhska is expressed exclusively in a specific cell population deep within the animal body such as pancreatic beta cells. Thus, this reporter model enables early, widespread, and sensitive in vivo detection of Cre activity and should provide a versatile tool for a wide spectrum of fluorescence and live-imaging applications.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.