β2 integrins play critical roles in migration of immune cells and in the interaction with other cells, pathogens, and the extracellular matrix. Among the β2 integrins, Mac-1 (Macrophage antigen-1), composed of CD11b and CD18, is mainly expressed in innate immune cells and plays a major role in cell migration and trafficking. In order to image Mac-1-expressing cells both in live cells and mouse, we generated a knock-in (KI) mouse strain expressing CD11b conjugated with monomeric yellow fluorescent protein (mYFP). Expression of CD11b-mYFP protein was confirmed by Western blot and silver staining of CD11b-immunoprecipitates and total cell lysates from the mouse splenocytes. Mac-1-mediated functions of the KI neutrophils were comparable with those in WT cells. The fluorescence intensity of CD11b-mYFP was sufficient to image CD11b expressing cells in live mice using intravital two-photon microscopy. In vitro, dynamic changes in the intracellular localization of CD11b molecules could be measured by epifluorescent microscopy. Finally, CD11b-expressing immune cells from tissue were easily detected by flow cytometry without anti-CD11b antibody staining.
Keywords: CD11b; Imaging; Integrin; MAC-1; YFP.
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