ProxTom lymphatic vessel reporter mice reveal Prox1 expression in the adrenal medulla, megakaryocytes, and platelets

Am J Pathol. 2012 Apr;180(4):1715-25. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.12.026. Epub 2012 Feb 4.


Lymphatic vessels (LVs) are important structures for antigen presentation, for lipid metabolism, and as conduits for tumor metastases, but they have been difficult to visualize in vivo. Prox1 is a transcription factor that is necessary for lymphangiogenesis in ontogeny and the maintenance of LVs. To visualize LVs in the lymph node of a living mouse in real time, we made the ProxTom transgenic mouse in a C57BL/6 background using red fluorescent LVs that are suitable for in vivo imaging. The ProxTom transgene contained all Prox1 regulatory sequences and was faithfully expressed in LVs coincident with endogenous Prox1 expression. The progenies of a ProxTom × Hec6stGFP cross were imaged using two-photon laser scanning microscopy, allowing the simultaneous visualization of LVs and high endothelial venules in a lymph node of a living mouse for the first time. We confirmed the expression of Prox1 in the adult liver, lens, and dentate gyrus. These intensely fluorescent mice revealed the expression of Prox1 in three novel sites: the neuroendocrine cells of the adrenal medulla, megakaryocytes, and platelets. The novel sites identified herein suggest previously unknown roles for Prox1. The faithful expression of the fluorescent reporter in ProxTom LVs indicates that these mice have potential utility in the study of diseases as diverse as lymphedema, filariasis, transplant rejection, obesity, and tumor metastasis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Medulla / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Genotype
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • Lymphatic Vessels / metabolism*
  • Megakaryocytes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Red Fluorescent Protein
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Xlkd1 protein, mouse
  • prospero-related homeobox 1 protein