A bioluminescence reporter mouse that monitors expression of constitutively active β-catenin

PLoS One. 2017 Mar 2;12(3):e0173014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173014. eCollection 2017.


This short technical report describes the generation and characterization of a bioluminescence reporter mouse that is engineered to detect and longitudinally monitor the expression of doxycycline-induced constitutively active β-catenin. The new responder transgenic mouse contains the TetO-ΔN89β-CatTMILA transgene, which consists of the tet-operator followed by a bicistronic sequence encoding a stabilized form of active β-catenin (ΔN89β-catenin), an internal ribosome entry site, and the firefly luciferase gene. To confirm that the transgene operates as designed, TetO-ΔN89β-CatTMILA transgenic mouse lines were crossed with an effector mouse that harbors the mouse mammary tumor virus-reverse tetracycline transactivator (MMTV-rtTA) transgene (termed MTB hereon), which primarily targets rtTA expression to the mammary epithelium. Following doxycycline administration, the resultant MTB/CatTMILA bigenic reporter exhibited precocious lobuloalveologenesis, ductal hyperplasia, and mammary adenocarcinomas, which were visualized and monitored by in vivo bioluminescence detection. Therefore, we predict that the TetO-ΔN89β-CatTMILA transgenic responder mouse-when crossed with the appropriate effector transgenic-will have wide-applicability to non-invasively monitor the influence of constitutively active β-catenin expression on cell-fate specification, proliferation, differentiation, and neoplastic transformation in a broad spectrum of target tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Doxycycline / administration & dosage
  • Genes, Reporter*
  • Luminescence
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • beta Catenin / genetics*


  • beta Catenin
  • Doxycycline