Transgenic mice expressing the Peripherin-EGFP genomic reporter display intrinsic peripheral nervous system fluorescence

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Abstract

The development of homologous recombination methods for the precise modification of bacterial artificial chromosomes has allowed the introduction of disease causing mutations or fluorescent reporter genes into human loci for functional studies. We have introduced the EGFP gene into the human PRPH-1 locus to create the Peripherin-EGFP (hPRPH1-G) genomic reporter construct. The hPRPH1-G reporter was used to create transgenic mice with an intrinsically fluorescent peripheral nervous system (PNS). During development, hPRPH1-G expression was concomitant with the acquisition of neuronal cell fate and growing axons could be observed in whole embryo mounts. In the adult, sensory neurons were labeled in both the PNS and central nervous system, while motor neurons in the spinal cord had more limited expression. The fusion protein labeled long neuronal processes, highlighting the peripheral circuitry of hPRPH1-G transgenic mice to provide a useful resource for a range of neurobiological applications.

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