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Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Apr;23(8):1467-74. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E12-01-0039. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Molecular imaging of nuclear factor-Y transcriptional activity maps proliferation sites in live animals.

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  • 1Experimental Oncology Department, Istituto Regina Elena, 00158 Rome, Italy.


In vivo imaging involving the use of genetically engineered animals is an innovative powerful tool for the noninvasive assessment of the molecular and cellular events that are often targets of therapy. On the basis of the knowledge that the activity of the nuclear factor-Y (NF-Y) transcription factor is restricted in vitro to proliferating cells, we have generated a transgenic reporter mouse, called MITO-Luc (for mitosis-luciferase), in which an NF-Y-dependent promoter controls luciferase expression. In these mice, bioluminescence imaging of NF-Y activity visualizes areas of physiological cell proliferation and regeneration during response to injury. Using this tool, we highlight for the first time a role of NF-Y activity on hepatocyte proliferation during liver regeneration. MITO-Luc reporter mice should facilitate investigations into the involvement of genes in cell proliferation and provide a useful model for studying aberrant proliferation in disease pathogenesis. They should be also useful in the development of new anti/proproliferative drugs and assessment of their efficacy and side effects on nontarget tissues.

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