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Immunity. 1998 Aug;9(2):209-16.

Mice with a fluorescent marker for interleukin 2 gene activation.

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Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, Maryland 20852, USA.


Production of interleukin (IL)-2 by T lymphocytes is one of the earliest events during immune response. A mutant mouse strain was generated by replacing the IL-2 gene with a cDNA encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP). In this model, GFP fluorescence is readily detectable upon T cell activation and is mostly coexpressed with IL-2 at the single cell level. Thus, individual activated T cells can express the IL-2 gene biallelically. Upon stimulation through the T cell antigen receptor, CD4+ cells separate into distinct GFP+ and GFP- populations, both of which are capable of differentiating into either Th1 or Th2 effectors. These mice allow noninvasive detection of IL-2 production by single cells and analysis of the subsequent differentiative fate of these cells as an immune response develops.

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