Unexpected functional consequences of xenogeneic transgene expression in beta-cells of NOD mice.

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see Reprint Collection (a pdf is available).

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Diabetes Obes Metab 2007 Nov; 9(Suppl 2):14-22.


We describe unexpected alterations in the non-obese diabetic (NOD/Lt) mouse model of type 1 diabetes (T1D) following forced beta-cell expression of non-mammalian genes ligated to an insulin promoter sequence. These include the jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP), useful for beta-cell identification, and the bacteriophage P1 Cre recombinase, necessary for beta cell-specific ablation of a gene using a Cre-loxP system. Homozygous expression of GFP, driven by the mouse insulin 1 gene promoter (MIP-GFP) in a single transgenic line of NOD mice, produced T1D in postnatal mice that was not associated with insulitis, but rather beta cell-depleted islets. Hemizygous transgene expression suppressed spontaneous autoimmune T1D in females, and produced a male glucose intolerance syndrome associated with age-dependent declines in plasma insulin content. Among lines of transgenic NOD/Lt mice expressing Cre recombinase driven by the rat insulin 2 promoter (RIP-Cre), high, non-mosaic expression correlated with suppressed T1D development. These findings emphasize the need for careful characterization of genetically manipulated NOD mouse stocks to insure that model characteristics have not been compromised.

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