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Endocrinology. 2007 Apr;148(4):1518-23. Epub 2007 Jan 18.

Generation of transgenic rats expressing green fluorescent protein in S-100beta-producing pituitary folliculo-stellate cells and brain astrocytes.

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Department of Regulatory Biology, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, 255 Shimo-ohkubo, Sakura-ku, Saitama 338-8570, Japan.


Folliculo-stellate (FS) cells are known to act as sustentacular cells or scavenger cells in the anterior lobe. However, the precise function and origin of FS cells are still under discussion. Like brain astrocytes, FS cells contain S-100beta protein, and FS cells can be detected immunocytochemically using antibodies for S-100beta protein after fixation; however, living FS cells can not be detected. The generation of transgenic rats expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of S-100beta protein gene promoter may allow the detection of living FS cells, which may be an excellent tool for the study of FS cells. With the aim of generation of transgenic rats, we analyzed the promoter activity of the S-100beta gene and found that intron 1 is important for cell-specific expression of the S-100beta gene. Therefore, we obtained a DNA construct containing GFP gene under a part of the S-100 promoter with intron 1. We transfected the construct into rat embryos and succeeded in generating transgenic rats. The transgenic rats expressed GFP in FS cells specifically in the anterior lobe. GFP is also expressed in other known S-100beta-expressing cells, i.e. brain astrocytes, adipocytes, and chondrocytes. We believe that the newly generated transgenic rats will provide a new approach for the study of FS cells and other S-100beta protein-producing cells.

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