Gt(ROSA)26Sor - gene trap ROSA 26, Philippe Soriano
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Publication
Journal: Nature genetics
February/9/1999
Authors
Publication
Journal: Nature biotechnology
April/11/2005
Abstract
Fluorescent proteins are genetically encoded, easily imaged reporters crucial in biology and biotechnology. When a protein is tagged by fusion to a fluorescent protein, interactions between fluorescent proteins can undesirably disturb targeting or function. Unfortunately, all wild-type yellow-to-red fluorescent proteins reported so far are obligately tetrameric and often toxic or disruptive. The first true monomer was mRFP1, derived from the Discosoma sp. fluorescent protein "DsRed" by directed evolution first to increase the speed of maturation, then to break each subunit interface while restoring fluorescence, which cumulatively required 33 substitutions. Although mRFP1 has already proven widely useful, several properties could bear improvement and more colors would be welcome. We report the next generation of monomers. The latest red version matures more completely, is more tolerant of N-terminal fusions and is over tenfold more photostable than mRFP1. Three monomers with distinguishable hues from yellow-orange to red-orange have higher quantum efficiencies.
Publication
Journal: Nature
November/25/2007
Abstract
The intestinal epithelium is the most rapidly self-renewing tissue in adult mammals. It is currently believed that four to six crypt stem cells reside at the +4 position immediately above the Paneth cells in the small intestine; colon stem cells remain undefined. Lgr5 (leucine-rich-repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 5, also known as Gpr49) was selected from a panel of intestinal Wnt target genes for its restricted crypt expression. Here, using two knock-in alleles, we reveal exclusive expression of Lgr5 in cycling columnar cells at the crypt base. In addition, Lgr5 was expressed in rare cells in several other tissues. Using an inducible Cre knock-in allele and the Rosa26-lacZ reporter strain, lineage-tracing experiments were performed in adult mice. The Lgr5-positive crypt base columnar cell generated all epithelial lineages over a 60-day period, suggesting that it represents the stem cell of the small intestine and colon. The expression pattern of Lgr5 suggests that it marks stem cells in multiple adult tissues and cancers.
Publication
Journal: Nature neuroscience
January/7/2010
Abstract
The Cre/lox system is widely used in mice to achieve cell-type-specific gene expression. However, a strong and universally responding system to express genes under Cre control is still lacking. We have generated a set of Cre reporter mice with strong, ubiquitous expression of fluorescent proteins of different spectra. The robust native fluorescence of these reporters enables direct visualization of fine dendritic structures and axonal projections of the labeled neurons, which is useful in mapping neuronal circuitry, imaging and tracking specific cell populations in vivo. Using these reporters and a high-throughput in situ hybridization platform, we are systematically profiling Cre-directed gene expression throughout the mouse brain in several Cre-driver lines, including new Cre lines targeting different cell types in the cortex. Our expression data are displayed in a public online database to help researchers assess the utility of various Cre-driver lines for cell-type-specific genetic manipulation.
Publication
Journal: BMC developmental biology
November/30/2003
Abstract
BACKGROUND
Several Cre reporter strains of mice have been described, in which a lacZ gene is turned on in cells expressing Cre recombinase, as well as their daughter cells, following Cre-mediated excision of a loxP-flanked transcriptional "stop" sequence. These mice are useful for cell lineage tracing experiments as well as for monitoring the expression of Cre transgenes. The green fluorescent protein (GFP) and variants such as EYFP and ECFP offer an advantage over lacZ as a reporter, in that they can be easily visualized without recourse to the vital substrates required to visualize beta-gal in living tissue.
RESULTS
In view of the general utility of targeting the ubiquitously expressed ROSA26 locus, we constructed a generic ROSA26 targeting vector. We then generated two reporter lines of mice by inserting EYFP or ECFP cDNAs into the ROSA26 locus, preceded by a loxP-flanked stop sequence. These strains were tested by crossing them with transgenic strains expressing Cre in a ubiquitous (beta-actin-Cre) or a cell-specific (Isl1-Cre and En1-Cre) pattern. The resulting EYFP or ECFP expression patterns indicated that the reporter strains function as faithful monitors of Cre activity.
CONCLUSIONS
In contrast to existing lacZ reporter lines, where lacZ expression cannot easily be detected in living tissue, the EYFP and ECFP reporter strains are useful for monitoring the expression of Cre and tracing the lineage of these cells and their descendants in cultured embryos or organs. The non-overlapping emission spectra of EYFP and ECFP make them ideal for double labeling studies in living tissues.
Publication
Journal: Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000)
December/19/2007
Abstract
The Cre/loxP system has been used extensively for conditional mutagenesis in mice. Reporters of Cre activity are important for defining the spatial and temporal extent of Cre-mediated recombination. Here we describe mT/mG, a double-fluorescent Cre reporter mouse that expresses membrane-targeted tandem dimer Tomato (mT) prior to Cre-mediated excision and membrane-targeted green fluorescent protein (mG) after excision. We show that reporter expression is nearly ubiquitous, allowing visualization of fluorescent markers in live and fixed samples of all tissues examined. We further demonstrate that mG labeling is Cre-dependent, complementary to mT at single cell resolution, and distinguishable by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Both membrane-targeted markers outline cell morphology, highlight membrane structures, and permit visualization of fine cellular processes. In addition to serving as a global Cre reporter, the mT/mG mouse may also be used as a tool for lineage tracing, transplantation studies, and analysis of cell morphology in vivo.
Publication
Journal: Nature
October/3/2010
Abstract
The cellular constituents forming the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche in the bone marrow are unclear, with studies implicating osteoblasts, endothelial and perivascular cells. Here we demonstrate that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), identified using nestin expression, constitute an essential HSC niche component. Nestin(+) MSCs contain all the bone-marrow colony-forming-unit fibroblastic activity and can be propagated as non-adherent 'mesenspheres' that can self-renew and expand in serial transplantations. Nestin(+) MSCs are spatially associated with HSCs and adrenergic nerve fibres, and highly express HSC maintenance genes. These genes, and others triggering osteoblastic differentiation, are selectively downregulated during enforced HSC mobilization or beta3 adrenoreceptor activation. Whereas parathormone administration doubles the number of bone marrow nestin(+) cells and favours their osteoblastic differentiation, in vivo nestin(+) cell depletion rapidly reduces HSC content in the bone marrow. Purified HSCs home near nestin(+) MSCs in the bone marrow of lethally irradiated mice, whereas in vivo nestin(+) cell depletion significantly reduces bone marrow homing of haematopoietic progenitors. These results uncover an unprecedented partnership between two distinct somatic stem-cell types and are indicative of a unique niche in the bone marrow made of heterotypic stem-cell pairs.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
December/5/2010
Abstract
Microglia are the resident macrophages of the central nervous system and are associated with the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative and brain inflammatory diseases; however, the origin of adult microglia remains controversial. We show that postnatal hematopoietic progenitors do not significantly contribute to microglia homeostasis in the adult brain. In contrast to many macrophage populations, we show that microglia develop in mice that lack colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) but are absent in CSF-1 receptor-deficient mice. In vivo lineage tracing studies established that adult microglia derive from primitive myeloid progenitors that arise before embryonic day 8. These results identify microglia as an ontogenically distinct population in the mononuclear phagocyte system and have implications for the use of embryonically derived microglial progenitors for the treatment of various brain disorders.
Publication
Journal: Cell
August/31/2010
Abstract
The reprogramming of fibroblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) raises the possibility that a somatic cell could be reprogrammed to an alternative differentiated fate without first becoming a stem/progenitor cell. A large pool of fibroblasts exists in the postnatal heart, yet no single "master regulator" of direct cardiac reprogramming has been identified. Here, we report that a combination of three developmental transcription factors (i.e., Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5) rapidly and efficiently reprogrammed postnatal cardiac or dermal fibroblasts directly into differentiated cardiomyocyte-like cells. Induced cardiomyocytes expressed cardiac-specific markers, had a global gene expression profile similar to cardiomyocytes, and contracted spontaneously. Fibroblasts transplanted into mouse hearts one day after transduction of the three factors also differentiated into cardiomyocyte-like cells. We believe these findings demonstrate that functional cardiomyocytes can be directly reprogrammed from differentiated somatic cells by defined factors. Reprogramming of endogenous or explanted fibroblasts might provide a source of cardiomyocytes for regenerative approaches.
Publication
Journal: Nature
September/4/2008
Abstract
Brown fat can increase energy expenditure and protect against obesity through a specialized program of uncoupled respiration. Here we show by in vivo fate mapping that brown, but not white, fat cells arise from precursors that express Myf5, a gene previously thought to be expressed only in the myogenic lineage. We also demonstrate that the transcriptional regulator PRDM16 (PRD1-BF1-RIZ1 homologous domain containing 16) controls a bidirectional cell fate switch between skeletal myoblasts and brown fat cells. Loss of PRDM16 from brown fat precursors causes a loss of brown fat characteristics and promotes muscle differentiation. Conversely, ectopic expression of PRDM16 in myoblasts induces their differentiation into brown fat cells. PRDM16 stimulates brown adipogenesis by binding to PPAR-gamma (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-gamma) and activating its transcriptional function. Finally, Prdm16-deficient brown fat displays an abnormal morphology, reduced thermogenic gene expression and elevated expression of muscle-specific genes. Taken together, these data indicate that PRDM16 specifies the brown fat lineage from a progenitor that expresses myoblast markers and is not involved in white adipogenesis.
Publication
Journal: Nature
June/19/2008
Abstract
T helper cells that produce IL-17 (T(H)17 cells) promote autoimmunity in mice and have been implicated in the pathogenesis of human inflammatory diseases. At mucosal surfaces, T(H)17 cells are thought to protect the host from infection, whereas regulatory T (T(reg)) cells control immune responses and inflammation triggered by the resident microflora. Differentiation of both cell types requires transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), but depends on distinct transcription factors: RORgammat (encoded by Rorc(gammat)) for T(H)17 cells and Foxp3 for T(reg) cells. How TGF-beta regulates the differentiation of T cells with opposing activities has been perplexing. Here we demonstrate that, together with pro-inflammatory cytokines, TGF-beta orchestrates T(H)17 cell differentiation in a concentration-dependent manner. At low concentrations, TGF-beta synergizes with interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-21 (refs 9-11) to promote IL-23 receptor (Il23r) expression, favouring T(H)17 cell differentiation. High concentrations of TGF-beta repress IL23r expression and favour Foxp3+ T(reg) cells. RORgammat and Foxp3 are co-expressed in naive CD4+ T cells exposed to TGF-beta and in a subset of T cells in the small intestinal lamina propria of the mouse. In vitro, TGF-beta-induced Foxp3 inhibits RORgammat function, at least in part through their interaction. Accordingly, lamina propria T cells that co-express both transcription factors produce less IL-17 (also known as IL-17a) than those that express RORgammat alone. IL-6, IL-21 and IL-23 relieve Foxp3-mediated inhibition of RORgammat, thereby promoting T(H)17 cell differentiation. Therefore, the decision of antigen-stimulated cells to differentiate into either T(H)17 or T(reg) cells depends on the cytokine-regulated balance of RORgammat and Foxp3.
Publication
Journal: The Journal of clinical investigation
September/23/2002
Abstract
Interstitial fibroblasts are principal effector cells of organ fibrosis in kidneys, lungs, and liver. While some view fibroblasts in adult tissues as nothing more than primitive mesenchymal cells surviving embryologic development, they differ from mesenchymal cells in their unique expression of fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP1). This difference raises questions about their origin. Using bone marrow chimeras and transgenic reporter mice, we show here that interstitial kidney fibroblasts derive from two sources. A small number of FSP1(+), CD34(-) fibroblasts migrate to normal interstitial spaces from bone marrow. More surprisingly, however, FSP1(+) fibroblasts also arise in large numbers by local epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during renal fibrogenesis. Both populations of fibroblasts express collagen type I and expand by cell division during tissue fibrosis. Our findings suggest that a substantial number of organ fibroblasts appear through a novel reversal in the direction of epithelial cell fate. As a general mechanism, this change in fate highlights the potential plasticity of differentiated cells in adult tissues under pathologic conditions.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
May/14/2007
Abstract
MicroRNAs are small RNA species involved in biological control at multiple levels. Using genetic deletion and transgenic approaches, we show that the evolutionarily conserved microRNA-155 (miR-155) has an important role in the mammalian immune system, specifically in regulating T helper cell differentiation and the germinal center reaction to produce an optimal T cell-dependent antibody response. miR-155 exerts this control, at least in part, by regulating cytokine production. These results also suggest that individual microRNAs can exert critical control over mammalian differentiation processes in vivo.
Publication
Journal: Nature
February/15/2007
Abstract
Tumorigenesis is a multi-step process that requires activation of oncogenes and inactivation of tumour suppressor genes. Mouse models of human cancers have recently demonstrated that continuous expression of a dominantly acting oncogene (for example, Hras, Kras and Myc) is often required for tumour maintenance; this phenotype is referred to as oncogene addiction. This concept has received clinical validation by the development of active anticancer drugs that specifically inhibit the function of oncoproteins such as BCR-ABL, c-KIT and EGFR. Identifying additional gene mutations that are required for tumour maintenance may therefore yield clinically useful targets for new cancer therapies. Although loss of p53 function is a common feature of human cancers, it is not known whether sustained inactivation of this or other tumour suppressor pathways is required for tumour maintenance. To explore this issue, we developed a Cre-loxP-based strategy to temporally control tumour suppressor gene expression in vivo. Here we show that restoring endogenous p53 expression leads to regression of autochthonous lymphomas and sarcomas in mice without affecting normal tissues. The mechanism responsible for tumour regression is dependent on the tumour type, with the main consequence of p53 restoration being apoptosis in lymphomas and suppression of cell growth with features of cellular senescence in sarcomas. These results support efforts to treat human cancers by way of pharmacological reactivation of p53.
Publication
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
April/18/2012
Abstract
Macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) are key components of cellular immunity and are thought to originate and renew from hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). However, some macrophages develop in the embryo before the appearance of definitive HSCs. We thus reinvestigated macrophage development. We found that the transcription factor Myb was required for development of HSCs and all CD11b(high) monocytes and macrophages, but was dispensable for yolk sac (YS) macrophages and for the development of YS-derived F4/80(bright) macrophages in several tissues, such as liver Kupffer cells, epidermal Langerhans cells, and microglia--cell populations that all can persist in adult mice independently of HSCs. These results define a lineage of tissue macrophages that derive from the YS and are genetically distinct from HSC progeny.
Publication
Journal: Nature
February/16/2011
Abstract
Homeostasis of self-renewing small intestinal crypts results from neutral competition between Lgr5 stem cells, which are small cycling cells located at crypt bottoms. Lgr5 stem cells are interspersed between terminally differentiated Paneth cells that are known to produce bactericidal products such as lysozyme and cryptdins/defensins. Single Lgr5-expressing stem cells can be cultured to form long-lived, self-organizing crypt-villus organoids in the absence of non-epithelial niche cells. Here we find a close physical association of Lgr5 stem cells with Paneth cells in mice, both in vivo and in vitro. CD24(+) Paneth cells express EGF, TGF-α, Wnt3 and the Notch ligand Dll4, all essential signals for stem-cell maintenance in culture. Co-culturing of sorted stem cells with Paneth cells markedly improves organoid formation. This Paneth cell requirement can be substituted by a pulse of exogenous Wnt. Genetic removal of Paneth cells in vivo results in the concomitant loss of Lgr5 stem cells. In colon crypts, CD24(+) cells residing between Lgr5 stem cells may represent the Paneth cell equivalents. We conclude that Lgr5 stem cells compete for essential niche signals provided by a specialized daughter cell, the Paneth cell.
Publication
Journal: Genomics
August/1/2001
Abstract
Recently, a highly efficient recombination system for chromosome engineering in Escherichia coli was described that uses a defective lambda prophage to supply functions that protect and recombine a linear DNA targeting cassette with its substrate sequence (Yu et al., 2000, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97, 5978-5983). Importantly, the recombination is proficient with DNA homologies as short as 30-50 bp, making it possible to use PCR-amplified fragments as the targeting cassette. Here, we adapt this prophage system for use in bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) engineering by transferring it to DH10B cells, a BAC host strain. In addition, arabinose inducible cre and flpe genes are introduced into these cells to facilitate BAC modification using loxP and FRT sites. Next, we demonstrate the utility of this recombination system by using it to target cre to the 3' end of the mouse neuron-specific enolase (Eno2) gene carried on a 250-kb BAC, which made it possible to generate BAC transgenic mice that specifically express Cre in all mature neurons. In addition, we show that fragments as large as 80 kb can be subcloned from BACs by gap repair using this recombination system, obviating the need for restriction enzymes or DNA ligases. Finally, we show that BACs can be modified with this recombination system in the absence of drug selection. The ability to modify or subclone large fragments of genomic DNA with precision should facilitate many kinds of genomic experiments that were difficult or impossible to perform previously and aid in studies of gene function in the postgenomic era.
Publication
Journal: Developmental biology
May/30/2002
Abstract
In recent years, the Cre integrase from bacteriophage P1 has become an essential tool for conditional gene activation and/or inactivation in mouse. In an earlier report, we described a fusion protein between Cre and a mutated form of the ligand binding domain of the estrogen receptor (Cre-ER) that renders Cre activity tamoxifen (TM) inducible, allowing for conditional modification of gene activity in the mammalian neural tube in utero. In the current work, we have generated a transgenic mouse line in which Cre-ER is ubiquitously expressed to permit temporally regulated Cre-mediated recombination in diverse tissues of the mouse at embryonic and adult stages. We demonstrate that a single, intraperitoneal injection of TM into a pregnant mouse at 8.5 days postcoitum leads to detectable recombination in the developing embryo within 6 h of injection and efficient recombination of a reporter gene in derivatives of all three germ layers within 24 h of injection. In addition, by varying the dose of TM injected, the percentage of cells undergoing a recombination event in the embryo can be controlled. Dose-dependent excision induced by TM was also possible in diverse tissues in the adult mouse, including the central nervous system, and in cultured cells derived from the transgenic mouse line. This inducible Cre system will be a broadly useful tool to modulate gene activity in mouse embryos, adults, and culture systems where temporal control is an important consideration.
Publication
Journal: Cell
March/15/2012
Abstract
Metastasis is the leading cause of cancer-associated death but has been difficult to study because it involves a series of rare, stochastic events. To capture these events, we developed a sensitive method to tag and track pancreatic epithelial cells in a mouse model of pancreatic cancer. Tagged cells invaded and entered the bloodstream unexpectedly early, before frank malignancy could be detected by rigorous histologic analysis; this behavior was widely associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Circulating pancreatic cells maintained a mesenchymal phenotype, exhibited stem cell properties, and seeded the liver. EMT and invasiveness were most abundant at inflammatory foci, and induction of pancreatitis increased the number of circulating pancreatic cells. Conversely, treatment with the immunosuppressive agent dexamethasone abolished dissemination. These results provide insight into the earliest events of cellular invasion in situ and suggest that inflammation enhances cancer progression in part by facilitating EMT and entry into the circulation.
Publication
Journal: Immunity
March/20/2013
Abstract
Mononuclear phagocytes, including monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells, contribute to tissue integrity as well as to innate and adaptive immune defense. Emerging evidence for labor division indicates that manipulation of these cells could bear therapeutic potential. However, specific ontogenies of individual populations and the overall functional organization of this cellular network are not well defined. Here we report a fate-mapping study of the murine monocyte and macrophage compartment taking advantage of constitutive and conditional CX(3)CR1 promoter-driven Cre recombinase expression. We have demonstrated that major tissue-resident macrophage populations, including liver Kupffer cells and lung alveolar, splenic, and peritoneal macrophages, are established prior to birth and maintain themselves subsequently during adulthood independent of replenishment by blood monocytes. Furthermore, we have established that short-lived Ly6C(+) monocytes constitute obligatory steady-state precursors of blood-resident Ly6C(-) cells and that the abundance of Ly6C(+) blood monocytes dynamically controls the circulation lifespan of their progeny.
Publication
Journal: Nature
March/6/2007
Abstract
In sprouting angiogenesis, specialized endothelial tip cells lead the outgrowth of blood-vessel sprouts towards gradients of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A. VEGF-A is also essential for the induction of endothelial tip cells, but it is not known how single tip cells are selected to lead each vessel sprout, and how tip-cell numbers are determined. Here we present evidence that delta-like 4 (Dll4)-Notch1 signalling regulates the formation of appropriate numbers of tip cells to control vessel sprouting and branching in the mouse retina. We show that inhibition of Notch signalling using gamma-secretase inhibitors, genetic inactivation of one allele of the endothelial Notch ligand Dll4, or endothelial-specific genetic deletion of Notch1, all promote increased numbers of tip cells. Conversely, activation of Notch by a soluble jagged1 peptide leads to fewer tip cells and vessel branches. Dll4 and reporters of Notch signalling are distributed in a mosaic pattern among endothelial cells of actively sprouting retinal vessels. At this location, Notch1-deleted endothelial cells preferentially assume tip-cell characteristics. Together, our results suggest that Dll4-Notch1 signalling between the endothelial cells within the angiogenic sprout serves to restrict tip-cell formation in response to VEGF, thereby establishing the adequate ratio between tip and stalk cells required for correct sprouting and branching patterns. This model offers an explanation for the dose-dependency and haploinsufficiency of the Dll4 gene, and indicates that modulators of Dll4 or Notch signalling, such as gamma-secretase inhibitors developed for Alzheimer's disease, might find usage as pharmacological regulators of angiogenesis.
Publication
Journal: Nature
November/27/2007
Abstract
Detailed analysis of neuronal network architecture requires the development of new methods. Here we present strategies to visualize synaptic circuits by genetically labelling neurons with multiple, distinct colours. In Brainbow transgenes, Cre/lox recombination is used to create a stochastic choice of expression between three or more fluorescent proteins (XFPs). Integration of tandem Brainbow copies in transgenic mice yielded combinatorial XFP expression, and thus many colours, thereby providing a way to distinguish adjacent neurons and visualize other cellular interactions. As a demonstration, we reconstructed hundreds of neighbouring axons and multiple synaptic contacts in one small volume of a cerebellar lobe exhibiting approximately 90 colours. The expression in some lines also allowed us to map glial territories and follow glial cells and neurons over time in vivo. The ability of the Brainbow system to label uniquely many individual cells within a population may facilitate the analysis of neuronal circuitry on a large scale.
Publication
Journal: Cell
October/18/2010
Abstract
Intestinal stem cells, characterized by high Lgr5 expression, reside between Paneth cells at the small intestinal crypt base and divide every day. We have carried out fate mapping of individual stem cells by generating a multicolor Cre-reporter. As a population, Lgr5(hi) stem cells persist life-long, yet crypts drift toward clonality within a period of 1-6 months. We have collected short- and long-term clonal tracing data of individual Lgr5(hi) cells. These reveal that most Lgr5(hi) cell divisions occur symmetrically and do not support a model in which two daughter cells resulting from an Lgr5(hi) cell division adopt divergent fates (i.e., one Lgr5(hi) cell and one transit-amplifying [TA] cell per division). The cellular dynamics are consistent with a model in which the resident stem cells double their numbers each day and stochastically adopt stem or TA fates. Quantitative analysis shows that stem cell turnover follows a pattern of neutral drift dynamics.
Publication
Journal: Nature
December/1/2010
Abstract
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) consists of specific physical barriers, enzymes and transporters, which together maintain the necessary extracellular environment of the central nervous system (CNS). The main physical barrier is found in the CNS endothelial cell, and depends on continuous complexes of tight junctions combined with reduced vesicular transport. Other possible constituents of the BBB include extracellular matrix, astrocytes and pericytes, but the relative contribution of these different components to the BBB remains largely unknown. Here we demonstrate a direct role of pericytes at the BBB in vivo. Using a set of adult viable pericyte-deficient mouse mutants we show that pericyte deficiency increases the permeability of the BBB to water and a range of low-molecular-mass and high-molecular-mass tracers. The increased permeability occurs by endothelial transcytosis, a process that is rapidly arrested by the drug imatinib. Furthermore, we show that pericytes function at the BBB in at least two ways: by regulating BBB-specific gene expression patterns in endothelial cells, and by inducing polarization of astrocyte end-feet surrounding CNS blood vessels. Our results indicate a novel and critical role for pericytes in the integration of endothelial and astrocyte functions at the neurovascular unit, and in the regulation of the BBB.
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