A Novel Dual-Color Reporter for Identifying Insulin-Producing Beta- Cells and Classifying Heterogeneity of Insulinoma Cell Lines

Department of Physiology & Biophysics and Zilkha Neurogenetics Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 04/2012; 7(4):e35521. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0035521
Source: PubMed


Many research studies use immortalized cell lines as surrogates for primary beta- cells. We describe the production and use of a novel "indirect" dual-fluorescent reporter system that leads to mutually exclusive expression of EGFP in insulin-producing (INS(+)) beta-cells or mCherry in non-beta-cells. Our system uses the human insulin promoter to initiate a Cre-mediated shift in reporter color within a single transgene construct and is useful for FACS selection of cells from single cultures for further analysis. Application of our reporter to presumably clonal HIT-T15 insulinoma cells, as well as other presumably clonal lines, indicates that these cultures are in fact heterogeneous with respect to INS(+) phenotype. Our strategy could be easily applied to other cell- or tissue-specific promoters. We anticipate its utility for FACS purification of INS(+) and glucose-responsive beta-like-cells from primary human islet cell isolates or in vitro differentiated pluripotent stem cells.

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