Ray P, Gambhir SSNoninvasive imaging of molecular events with bioluminescent reporter genes in living subjects. Methods Mol Biol 411: 131-144

Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford, Department of Radiology, Bio-X Program, Stanford University, USA.
Methods in Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 1.29). 02/2007; 411:131-44. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-59745-549-7_10
Source: PubMed


Bioluminescence imaging has become a very popular tool for noninvasive monitoring of fundamental biological and molecular processes in small living subjects. Luciferases are light-emitting enzymes that can generate light (known as bioluminescence) after reacting with specific substrates. The emitted light is used as a detection system for luciferase activity, which acts as a "reporter" for the activity of any regulatory elements that control its expression. These enzymes are isolated from various organisms, conveniently modified for expression in mammalian cells, and are extensively used in molecular biology and cell culture experiments. Recent advances in optical technology have opened a new dimension for in vivo application of luciferase enzymes in biomedical research. The most commonly utilized luciferases for in vivo bioluminescence are isolated from two very different sources: firefly luciferase (or beetle luciferase) and renilla luciferase (isolated from sea pansy). Although both these luciferases can produce light following interaction with the substrates, structurally and biochemically they are very different. Here we describe the methods and applications of firefly and renilla luciferases in molecular imaging using small animals.

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    • "A region of interest of constant shape and size (0.53 cm2) was drawn over the transfected hindlimbs of all animals. Bioluminescence signal in the region of interest was quantified using the maximum radiance measured in photons/sec/cm2/steradian (sr) 31. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To assess the effect of varying microbubble (MB) and DNA doses on the overall and comparative efficiencies of ultrasound (US)-mediated gene delivery (UMGD) to murine hindlimb skeletal muscle using cationic versus neutral MBs. Materials and Methods: Cationic and control neutral MBs were characterized for size, charge, plasmid DNA binding, and ability to protect DNA against endonuclease degradation. UMGD of a codon optimized firefly luciferase (Fluc) reporter plasmid to endothelial cells (1 MHz, 1 W/cm², 20% duty cycle, 1 min) was performed in cell culture using cationic, neutral, or no MBs. In vivo UMGD to mouse hindlimb muscle was performed by insonation (1 MHz, 2 W/cm², 50% duty cycle, 5 min) after intravenous administration of Fluc combined with cationic, neutral, or no MBs. Gene delivery efficiency was assessed by serial in vivo bioluminescence imaging. Efficiency of in vivo UMGD with cationic versus neutral MBs was systematically evaluated by varying plasmid DNA dose (10, 17.5, 25, 37.5, and 50 µg) while maintaining a constant MB dose of 1x108 MBs and by changing MB dose (1x107, 5x107, 1x108, or 5x108 MBs) while keeping a constant DNA dose of 50 µg. Results: Cationic and size-matched control neutral MBs differed significantly in zeta potential with cationic MBs being able to bind plasmid DNA (binding capacity of 0.03 pg/MB) and partially protect DNA from nuclease degradation while neutral MBs could not. Cationic MBs enhanced UMGD compared to neutral MBs as well as no MB and no US controls both in cell culture (P < 0.001) and in vivo (P < 0.05). Regardless of MB type, in vivo UMGD efficiency increased dose-dependently with DNA dose and showed overall maximum transfection with 50 µg DNA. However, there was an inverse correlation (ρ = -0.90; P = 0.02) between DNA dose and the degree of enhanced UMGD efficiency observed with using cationic MBs instead of neutral MBs. The delivery efficiency advantage associated with cationic MBs was most prominent at the lowest investigated DNA dose (7.5-fold increase with cationic versus neutral MBs at a DNA dose of 10 µg; P = 0.02) compared to only a 1.4-fold increase at a DNA dose of 50 µg (P < 0.01). With increasing MB dose, overall in vivo UMGD efficiency increased dose-dependently with a maximum reached at a dose of 1x108 MBs with no further significant increase with 5x108 MBs (P = 0.97). However, compared to neutral MBs, cationic MBs enhanced UMGD efficiency the most at low MB doses. Relative enhancement of UMGD efficiency using cationic over neutral MBs decreased from a factor of 27 for 1x107 MBs (P = 0.02) to a factor of 1.4 for 1x108 MBs (P < 0.01) and no significant difference for 5x108 MBs. Conclusions: Cationic MBs enhance UMGD to mouse skeletal muscle relative to neutral MBs but this is dependent on MB and DNA dose. The enhancement effect of cationic MBs on UMGD efficiency is more evident when lower doses of MBs or DNA are used, whereas the advantage of cationic MBs over neutral MBs is substantially reduced in the presence of excess MBs or DNA.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Theranostics
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    • "In support of this, several groups have utilized optical, magnetic, or nuclear imaging techniques to evaluate gene transfer in animal models. In optical imaging studies, genes inducing fluorescence or bioluminescence have been used very successfully in mouse models [1, 2]. However, these approaches are limited for human studies due to low tissue penetration and high scattering of the fluorescent or bioluminescent signal, and potential immunogenicity of the fluorescent or luminescent proteins. "
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this article is to develop internalizing positron emission tomography (PET) reporter genes for tracking genetically modified T cells in vivo. The transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the human transferrin receptor (TfR) and CD5 were each fused to the carcinoembryonic (CEA) minigene N-A3 and expressed in Jurkat T cells. Internalization was evaluated by confocal microscopy or by intracellular uptake of ¹²⁵I-labeled anti-CEA scFv-Fc. Reporter gene-transfected Jurkat xenografts in mice were analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and imaged by PET using ¹²⁴I- or ⁶⁴Cu-scFv-Fc as tracers. Surface expression of TR(1-99)-NA3 was lower than that of NA3-CD5. Both reporter genes were internalized following binding of the anti-CEA antibody fragment. IHC of tumors showed strong staining of NA3-CD5, whereas TR(1-99)-NA3 stained weakly. Specific targeting of TR(1-99)-NA3 or NA3-CD5 was shown by PET in xenografted mice. The in vivo imaging studies suggest a potential application of the internalizing form of CEA (N-A3) as a PET reporter gene.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Molecular imaging and biology: MIB: the official publication of the Academy of Molecular Imaging
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