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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 23;388(3):589-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.08.055. Epub 2009 Aug 14.

Ferritin reporter used for gene expression imaging by magnetic resonance.

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  • 1Department of Brain Functions, Division of Stress Adaptation and Protection, Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a minimally invasive way to provide high spatial resolution tomograms. However, MRI has been considered to be useless for gene expression imaging compared to optical imaging. In this study, we used a ferritin reporter, binding with biogenic iron, to make it a powerful tool for gene expression imaging in MRI studies. GL261 mouse glioma cells were over-expressed with dual-reporter ferritin-DsRed under beta-actin promoter, then gene expression was observed by optical imaging and MRI in a brain tumor model. GL261 cells expressing ferritin-DsRed fusion protein showed enhanced visualizing effect by reducing T2-weighted signal intensity for in vitro and in vivo MRI studies, as well as DsRed fluorescence for optical imaging. Furthermore, a higher contrast was achieved on T2-weighted images when permeating the plasma membrane of ferritin-DsRed-expressing GL261. Thus, a ferritin expression vector can be used as an MRI reporter to monitor in vivo gene expression.

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