Angiogenesis is important from normal development as well as from tumour growth. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying angiogenesis are not fully understood, partly because of the lack of a good animal model from imaging. Here, we report the generation of a novel transgenic (Tg) mouse that expresses a bioluminescent reporter protein, Nano-lantern, under the control of Fetal liver kinase 1 (Flk1). Flk1-Nano-lantern BAC Tg mice recapitulated endogenous Flk1 expression in endothelial cells and lymphatic endothelial cells during development and tumour growth. Importantly, bioluminescence imaging of endothelial cells from the aortic rings of Flk1-Nano-lantern BAC Tg mice enabled us to observe endothelial sprouting from 18 hr without any detectable phototoxicity. Furthermore, Flk1-Nano-lantern BAC Tg mice achieved time-lapse luminescence imaging of tumour angiogenesis in freely moving mice with implanted tumours. Thus, this transgenic mouse line contributes a unique model to study angiogenesis within both physiological and pathological contexts.
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