Lactotransferrin-Cre reporter mice trace neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells

Haematologica. 2014 Jun;99(6):1006-15. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2013.097154. Epub 2014 Feb 21.


Considerable effort has been expended to identify genes that account for myeloid lineage commitment and development. However, currently available non-invasive mouse models utilize myeloid-specific reporters that are significantly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells as well as lymphoid compartments. Here, we describe a myeloid-specific marker that is not shared by any other lineage. We show that lactotransferrin mRNA is expressed by Gr-1(+)/CD11b(+) cells in the bone marrow, as opposed to hematopoietic stem cells or any peripheral cell population. To follow the progeny of lactotransferrin-expressing bone marrow cells, we generated a mouse model in which a reporter gene is irreversibly activated from the lactotransferrin-promoter. We found that lactotransferrin-reporter labels a majority of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells, while excluding T, B, natural killer cells, interferon-producing killer dendritic cells, plasmacytoid dendritic cells, erythrocytes and eosinophils. Lactotransferrin-reporter(-) bone marrow cells retain lymphoid, erythroid and long-term repopulating potential, while lactotransferrin-reporter(+) bone marrow cells confer only myeloid, but not lymphoid potential. We conclude that lactotransferrin represents a late stage differentiation marker of neutrophils, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD11b Antigen / metabolism
  • Cell Tracking
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism*
  • Erythroid Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Order
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Lactoferrin / genetics*
  • Lactoferrin / metabolism
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Myeloid Cells / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Receptors, Chemokine / metabolism


  • CD11b Antigen
  • Gr-1 protein, mouse
  • Ltf protein, mouse
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • Lactoferrin