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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 7;10(4):e0122976. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0122976. eCollection 2015.

A transgenic Prox1-Cre-tdTomato reporter mouse for lymphatic vessel research.

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Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
Institute of Laboratory Animal Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Mammalian Cell Signaling Laboratory, Department of Vascular Cell Biology, Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster, Germany.


The lymphatic vascular system plays an active role in immune cell trafficking, inflammation and cancer spread. In order to provide an in vivo tool to improve our understanding of lymphatic vessel function in physiological and pathological conditions, we generated and characterized a tdTomato reporter mouse and crossed it with a mouse line expressing Cre recombinase under the control of the lymphatic specific promoter Prox1 in an inducible fashion. We found that the tdTomato fluorescent signal recapitulates the expression pattern of Prox1 in lymphatic vessels and other known Prox1-expressing organs. Importantly, tdTomato co-localized with the lymphatic markers Prox1, LYVE-1 and podoplanin as assessed by whole-mount immunofluorescence and FACS analysis. The tdTomato reporter was brighter than a previously established red fluorescent reporter line. We confirmed the applicability of this animal model to intravital microscopy of dendritic cell migration into and within lymphatic vessels, and to fluorescence-activated single cell analysis of lymphatic endothelial cells. Additionally, we were able to describe the early morphological changes of the lymphatic vasculature upon induction of skin inflammation. The Prox1-Cre-tdTomato reporter mouse thus shows great potential for lymphatic research.

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