Genetically engineered mice for combinatorial cardiovascular optobiology

Frank K. Lee, Jane C. Lee, Bo Shui, Shaun Reining, Megan Jibilian, David M. Small, Jason S. Jones, Nathaniel H. Allan-Rahill, Michael R.E. Lamont, Megan A. Rizzo, Sendoa Tajada, Manuel F. Navedo, Luis Fernando Santana, Nozomi Nishimura, Michael I. Kotlikoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Optogenetic effectors and sensors provide a novel real-time window into complex physiological processes, enabling determination of molecular signaling processes within functioning cellular networks. However, the combination of these optical tools in mice is made practical by construction of genetic lines that are optically compatible and genetically tractable. We present a new toolbox of 21 mouse lines with lineage-specific expression of optogenetic effectors and sensors for direct biallelic combination, avoiding the multiallelic requirement of Cre recombinase-mediated DNA recombination, focusing on models relevant for cardiovascular biology. Optogenetic effectors (11 lines) or Ca2+ sensors (10 lines) were selectively expressed in cardiac pacemaker cells, cardiomyocytes, vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells, alveolar epithelial cells, lymphocytes, glia, and other cell types. Optogenetic effector and sensor function was demonstrated in numerous tissues. Arterial/arteriolar tone was modulated by optical activation of the second messengers InsP3 (optoα1AR) and cAMP (optoß2AR), or Ca2+-permeant membrane channels (CatCh2) in smooth muscle (Acta2) and endothelium (Cdh5). Cardiac activation was separately controlled through activation of nodal/conducting cells or cardiac myocytes. We demonstrate combined effector and sensor function in biallelic mouse crosses: optical cardiac pacing and simultaneous cardiomyocyte Ca2+ imaging in Hcn4BAC-CatCh2/Myh6-GCaMP8 crosses. These experiments highlight the potential of these mice to explore cellular signaling in vivo, in complex tissue networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere67858
StatePublished - Oct 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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