CT26 murine colon carcinoma expressing the red fluorescent protein KillerRed as a highly immunogenic tumor model

J Biomed Opt. 2015 Aug;20(8):88002. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.20.8.088002.


The development of tumor therapies based on the activation of antitumor immunity requires tumor models that are highly immunogenic. The immunologic response to fluorescent proteins, green fluorescent protein (GFP), or enhanced GFP (EGFP) was demonstrated in different cancer models. However, for live animal imaging, red and far-red fluorescent proteins are preferable, but their immunogenicity has not been studied. We assessed the immunogenicity of the red fluorescent protein, KillerRed (KR), in CT26 murine colon carcinoma. We showed a slower growth and a lower tumor incidence of KR-expressing tumors in comparison with nonexpressing ones. We found that KR-expressing lung metastases and rechallenged tumors were not formed in mice that had been surgically cured of KR-expressing primary tumors. The effect of low-dose cyclophosphamide (CY) treatment was also tested, as this is known to activate antitumor immune responses. The low-dose CY therapy of CT26-KR tumors resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and improved mouse survival. In summary, we have established a highly immunogenic tumor model that could be valuable for investigations of the mechanisms of antitumor immunity and the development of new therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / immunology*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / immunology*
  • Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*


  • killer red protein, Anthomedusae
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins