Genetically engineered mouse cancer models allow tumors to be imaged in vivo via co-expression of a reporter gene with a tumor-initiating gene. However, differential transcriptional and translational regulation between the tumor-initiating gene and the reporter gene can result in inconsistency between the actual tumor size and the size indicated by the imaging assay. To overcome this limitation, we developed a transgenic mouse in which two oncogenes, encoding P53R172H and KRASG12D, are expressed together with two reporter genes, encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) and firefly luciferase, in a single open reading frame following Cre-mediated DNA excision. Systemic administration of adenovirus encoding Cre to these mice induced specific transgene expression in the liver. Repeated bioluminescence imaging of the mice revealed a continuous increase in the bioluminescent signal over time. A strong correlation was found between the bioluminescent signal and actual tumor size. Interestingly, all liver tumors induced by P53R172H and KRASG12D in the model were hepatocellular adenomas. The mouse model was also used to trace cell proliferation in the epidermis via live fluorescence imaging. We anticipate that the transgenic mouse model will be useful for imaging tumor development in vivo and for investigating the oncogenic collaboration between P53R172H and KRASG12D.
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