A genetic system for tissue-specific inhibition of cell proliferation

Development. 2020 Feb 17;147(4):dev183830. doi: 10.1242/dev.183830.


Cellular proliferation is a basic process during organ development, tissue homeostasis and disease progression. Likewise, after injury typically multiple cell lineages respond to various cues and proliferate to initiate repair and/or remodeling of the injured tissue. Unravelling the specific role of proliferation of one cell type and its lineage in the context of the whole organism during tissue regeneration and/or disease progression would provide valuable information on these processes. Here, we report a new genetic system that allows cell proliferation to be inhibited in a tissue-specific manner. We generated Cre- or Dre-inducible p21-GFP (ip21-GFP) transgenic mice that enable experimentally induced permanent cell cycle arrest of specific cell lineages of interest, while genetically marking these cells. This system allows for the inhibition of pathogenic cell proliferation. We found that cardiac fibroblast proliferation inhibition significantly reduced scar formation, and promoted neovascularization and cardiomyocyte survival. Additionally, we found that inhibition of one type of cell proliferation (namely, hepatocytes) induces the lineage conversion of another type cells (i.e. ductal cells) during tissue regeneration. These results validate the use of ip21-GFP mice as a new genetic tool for cell lineage-specific inhibition of cell proliferation in vivo.

Keywords: Cell proliferation; Genetic tools; Lineage conversion; Mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21 / physiology
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genetic Techniques*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Heart / growth & development
  • Heart / physiology
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology


  • Cdkn1a protein, mouse
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins