Genesis. 2020 Sep;58(9):e23387. doi: 10.1002/dvg.23387. Epub 2020 Jul 9.
A novel Axin2 knock-in mouse model for visualization and lineage tracing of WNT/CTNNB1 responsive cells
Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Service type: Knock-in mice
Wnt signal transduction controls tissue morphogenesis, maintenance and regeneration in all multicellular animals. In mammals, the WNT/CTNNB1 (Wnt/β-catenin) pathway controls cell proliferation and cell fate decisions before and after birth. It plays a critical role at multiple stages of embryonic development, but also governs stem cell maintenance and homeostasis in adult tissues. However, it remains challenging to monitor endogenous WNT/CTNNB1 signaling dynamics in vivo. Here, we report the generation and characterization of a new knock-in mouse strain that doubles as a fluorescent reporter and lineage tracing driver for WNT/CTNNB1 responsive cells. We introduced a multi-cistronic targeting cassette at the 3' end of the universal WNT/CTNNB1 target gene Axin2. The resulting knock-in allele expresses a bright fluorescent reporter (3xNLS-SGFP2) and a doxycycline-inducible driver for lineage tracing (rtTA3). We show that the Axin2P2A-rtTA3-T2A-3xNLS-SGFP2 strain labels WNT/CTNNB1 responsive cells at multiple anatomical sites during different stages of embryonic and postnatal development. It faithfully reports the subtle and dynamic changes in physiological WNT/CTNNB1 signaling activity that occur in vivo. We expect this mouse strain to be a useful resource for biologists who want to track and trace the location and developmental fate of WNT/CTNNB1 responsive stem cells in different contexts.
Keywords: Axin2; GFP reporter mouse; beta-catenin; doxycycline-inducible lineage tracing; organoids.