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BMC Dev Biol. 2011 Dec 28;11:76. doi: 10.1186/1471-213X-11-76.

Targeting the hemangioblast with a novel cell type-specific enhancer.

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  • 1Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.



Hemangioblasts are known as the common precursors for primitive hematopoietic and endothelial lineages. Their existence has been supported mainly by the observation that both cell types develop in close proximity and by in vitro differentiation and genetic studies. However, more compelling evidence will arise from tracking their cell fates using a lineage-specific marker.


We report the identification of a hemangioblast-specific enhancer (Hb) located in the cis-regulatory region of chick Cerberus gene (cCer) that is able to direct the expression of enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) to the precursors of yolk sac blood and endothelial cells in electroporated chick embryos. Moreover, we present the Hb-eGFP reporter as a powerful live imaging tool for visualizing hemangioblast cell fate and blood island morphogenesis.


We hereby introduce the Hb enhancer as a valuable resource for genetically targeting the hemangioblast population as well as for studying the dynamics of vascular and blood cell development.

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