BACKGROUND: The tauGFP reporter fusion protein is produced nearly ubiquitously by the TgTP6.3 transgene in TP6.3 mice and its localisation to microtubules offers some advantages over soluble GFP as a lineage marker. However, TgTP6.3 (Tg/Tg) homozygotes are not viable and TgTP6.3 (Tg/-) hemizygotes are smaller than wild-type. TP6.4 mice carry the TgTP6.4 transgene, which was produced with the same construct used to generate TgTP6.3, so we investigated whether TgTP6.4 had any advantages over TgTP6.3.
RESULTS: Although TgTP6.4 (Tg/Tg) homozygotes died before weaning, TgTP6.4 (Tg/-) hemizygotes were viable and fertile and only males were significantly lighter than wild-type. The TgTP6.4 transgene produced the tauGFP fusion protein by the 2-cell stage and it was widely expressed in adults but tauGFP fluorescence was weak or absent in several tissues, including some neural tissues. The TgTP6.4 transgene expression pattern changed over several years of breeding and mosaic transgene expression became increasingly common in all expressing tissues. This mosaicism was used to visualise clonal lineages in the adrenal cortex of TgTP6.4 (Tg/-) hemizygotes and these were qualitatively and quantitatively comparable to lineages reported previously for other mosaic transgenic mice, X-inactivation mosaics and chimaeras. Mosaicism occurred less frequently in TP6.3 than TP6.4 mice and was only observed in the corneal epithelium and adrenal cortex.
CONCLUSIONS: Mosaic expression makes the TgTP6.4 transgene unsuitable for use as a conventional cell lineage marker but such mosaicism provides a useful system for visualising clonal lineages that arise during development or maintenance of adult tissues. Differences in the occurrence of mosaicism between related transgenic lines, such as that described for lines TP6.3 and TP6.4, might provide a useful system for investigating the mechanism of transgene silencing.
- Journal Article