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Reproduction. 2008 Oct;136(4):503-14. doi: 10.1530/REP-08-0053. Epub 2008 Jun 26.

A comprehensive, non-invasive visualization of primordial germ cell development in mice by the Prdm1-mVenus and Dppa3-ECFP double transgenic reporter.

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Laboratory for Mammalian Germ Cell Biology, RIKEN Kobe Institute, Center for Developmental Biology, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.


The ability to monitor the development of a given cell lineage in a non-invasive manner by fluorescent markers both in vivo and in vitro provides a great advantage for the analysis of the lineage of interest. To date, a number of transgenic or knock-in mouse strains, in which developing germ cells are marked with fluorescent reporters, have been generated. We here describe a novel double transgenic reporter mouse strain that expresses membrane-targeted Venus (mVenus), a brighter variant of yellow fluorescent protein (YFP), under the control of Prdm1 (Blimp1) regulatory elements and enhanced cyan fluorescent protein (ECFP) under the control of Dppa3 (Stella/Pgc7). The double transgenic strain unambiguously marked Prdm1 expression in the lineage-restricted precursors of primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the proximal epiblast at embryonic day (E) 6.25 and specifically illuminated Prdm1- and Dppa3-positive migrating PGCs after E8.5. The double transgenic reporter also precisely recapitulated dynamic embryonic expression of Prdm1 outside the germ cell lineage. Moreover, we derived ES cells that bore both transgenes. These cells made a robust contribution both to the germ and somatic cell lineages in chimeras with accurate Prdm1-mVenus and Dppa3-ECFP expression. The transgenic strain and the ES cells will serve as valuable experimental materials not only for analyzing the origin and properties of the germ cell lineage in vivo, but also for establishing a culture system to efficiently induce proper germ cells with temporally coordinated Prdm1 and Dppa3 expression in vitro.

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