Novel Myh11 Dual Reporter Mouse Model Provides Definitive Labeling and Identification of Smooth Muscle Cells - Brief Report

Jian Ruan, Lu Zhang, Donghua Hu, Xianghu Qu, Fan Yang, Fuxue Chen, Xiangqin He, Jian Shen, Kunzhe Dong, Megan Sweet, Christina Sanchez, Deqiang Li, Weinian Shou, Jiliang Zhou, Chen Leng Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: Myh11 encodes a myosin heavy chain protein that is specifically expressed in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and is important for maintaining vascular wall stability. The goal of this study is to generate a Myh11 dual reporter mouse line for definitive visualization of MYH11+ SMCs in vivo. Approach and Results: We generated a Myh11 knock-in mouse model by inserting LoxP-nlacZ-4XpolyA-LoxP-H2B-GFP-polyA-FRT-Neo-FRT reporter cassette into the Myh11 gene locus. The nuclear (n) lacZ-4XpolyA cassette is flanked by 2 LoxP sites followed by H2B-GFP (histone 2B fused green fluorescent protein). Upon Cre-mediated recombination, nlacZ-stop cassette is removed thereby permitting nucleus localized H2B-GFP expression. Expression of the nuclear localized lacZ or H2B-GFP is under control of the endogenous Myh11 promoter. Nuclear lacZ was expressed specifically in SMCs at embryonic and adult stages. Following germline Cre-mediated deletion of nuclear lacZ, H2B-GFP was specifically expressed in the nuclei of SMCs. Comparison of nuclear lacZ expression with Wnt1Cre and Mef2cCre mediated-H2B-GFP expression revealed heterogenous origins of SMCs from neural crest and second heart field in the great arteries and coronary vessels adjacent to aortic root. Conclusions: The Myh11 knock-in dual reporter mouse model offers an exceptional genetic tool to visualize and trace the origins of SMCs in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-821
Number of pages7
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021


  • Myh11
  • knock-in
  • reporter mouse
  • smooth muscle cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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