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J Clin Invest. 2014 May;124(5):2076-86. doi: 10.1172/JCI71194. Epub 2014 Mar 25.

Sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 reporter mice reveal receptor activation sites in vivo.


Activation of the GPCR sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1P1) by sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) regulates key physiological processes. S1P1 activation also has been implicated in pathologic processes, including autoimmunity and inflammation; however, the in vivo sites of S1P1 activation under normal and disease conditions are unclear. Here, we describe the development of a mouse model that allows in vivo evaluation of S1P1 activation. These mice, known as S1P1 GFP signaling mice, produce a S1P1 fusion protein containing a transcription factor linked by a protease cleavage site at the C terminus as well as a β-arrestin/protease fusion protein. Activated S1P1 recruits the β-arrestin/protease, resulting in the release of the transcription factor, which stimulates the expression of a GFP reporter gene. Under normal conditions, S1P1 was activated in endothelial cells of lymphoid tissues and in cells in the marginal zone of the spleen, while administration of an S1P1 agonist promoted S1P1 activation in endothelial cells and hepatocytes. In S1P1 GFP signaling mice, LPS-mediated systemic inflammation activated S1P1 in endothelial cells and hepatocytes via hematopoietically derived S1P. These data demonstrate that S1P1 GFP signaling mice can be used to evaluate S1P1 activation and S1P1-active compounds in vivo. Furthermore, this strategy could be potentially applied to any GPCR to identify sites of receptor activation during normal physiology and disease.

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