An X-linked GFP transgene reveals unexpected paternal X-chromosome activity in trophoblastic giant cells of the mouse placenta

Anna Katerina Hadjantonakis, Liza L. Cox, Patrick P.L. Tam, Andras Nagy

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92 Citations (Scopus)


Summary: A GFP transgene has been integrated on the proximal part of the mouse X chromosome just distal of Timp and Syn1. During development, this X-linked GFP transgene exhibits widespread green fluorescence throughout the embryonic and adult life of male mice but displays mosaic expression in tissues as a result of X-inactivation in females. In living female embryos, inactivation of the transgene is imprinted in extraembryonic regions and random in the embryo proper, demonstrating that this reporter is behaving in a similar fashion to the majority of X-linked loci, and so provides a vital readout of X chromosome activity. This is observation is further supported in T16H/X female mice harboring the GFP transgene on the normal X chromosome where reporter inactivation is observed in somatic cells. The differential expression of GFP activity facilitates fluorescence activated cell sorting for the purification of GFP+ vs. GFP- cells from female embryonic tissues, thereby allowing access to populations of cells that have kept active a particular X chromosome. By tracking the activity of this X-linked GFP transgene, we discovered that the primary and secondary giant cells of the X/X placenta maintain an active paternal copy of this transgene on the presumed silenced paternal X-chromosome. This finding implies that the imprint on the paternal X chromosome may be relaxed in these trophectodermal derivatives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-140
Number of pages8
Journalgenesis: The Journal of Genetics and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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