The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Fluorescent proteins expressed in mouse transgenic lines mark subsets of glia, neurons, macrophages, and dendritic cells for vital examination.

PMID 15590915


To enable vital observation of glia at the neuromuscular junction, transgenic mice were generated that express proteins of the green fluorescent protein family under control of transcriptional regulatory sequences of the human S100B gene. Terminal Schwann cells were imaged repetitively in living animals of one of the transgenic lines to show that, except for extension and retraction of short processes, the glial coverings of the adult neuromuscular synapse are stable. In other lines, subsets of Schwann cells were labeled. The distribution of label suggests that Schwann cells at individual synapses are clonally related, a finding with implications for how these cells might be sorted during postnatal development. Other labeling patterns, some present in unique lines, included astrocytes, microglia, and subsets of cerebellar Bergmann glia, spinal motor neurons, macrophages, and dendritic cells. We show that lines with labeled macrophages can be used to follow the accumulation of these cells at sites of injury.