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Blood. 2004 Aug 1;104(3):711-8. Epub 2004 Apr 15.

Gene-trap expression screening to identify endothelial-specific genes.

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  • 1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.


The endothelial cell is a key cellular component for blood vessel formation. Many signaling receptors expressed in endothelial cells play critical roles in vascular development during embryogenesis. However, downstream response genes required for vascular differentiation are still not clearly identified. Here we describe the development of a protocol for gene-trap expression screening in embryonic stem (ES) cells for endothelial-specific genes. ES cells were differentiated into endothelial cells on an OP9 feeder cell layer in 96-well plates. In a pilot screen, 5 gene-trapped ES cell lines showed an up-regulated expression of the gene trap lacZ reporter out of 864 ES clones screened. One of the trapped genes was endoglin, an endothelial-specific transforming growth factor-beta type III receptor, and another was ASPP1, a p53-binding protein. In vivo expression analysis of the lacZ reporter confirmed that both genes are specifically expressed in endothelial cells during early mouse embryogenesis. Gene-trap expression screening can thus be used to identify early endothelial-specific genes and analyze their function in mice.

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