pcDNA3.1tdTomato is superior to pDsRed2-N1 for optical fluorescence imaging in the F344/AY-27 rat model of bladder cancer

Vincent Koo, Alvin Lee, Osama Sharaf Eldin, Chris Watson, Peter Hamilton, Kate Williamson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


PURPOSE: Animal models are important for pre-clinical assessment of novel therapies in metastatic bladder cancer. The F344/AY-27 model involves orthotopic colonisation with AY-27 tumour cells which are syngeneic to F344 rats. One disadvantage of the model is the unknown status of colonisation between instillation and sacrifice. Non-invasive optical imaging using red fluorescence reporters could potentially detect tumours in situ and would also reduce the number of animals required for each experiment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: AY-27 cells were stably transfected with either pDsRed2-N1 or pcDNA3.1tdTomato. The intensity and stability of fluorescence in the resultant AY-27/DsRed2-N1 and AY-27/tdTomato stable cell lines were compared using Xenogen IVIS®200 and Olympus IX51 systems.

RESULTS: AY-27/tdTomato fluorescence intensity was 60-fold brighter than AY-27/DsRed2-N1 and was sustained in AY-27/tdTomato cells following freezing and six subsequent sub-cultures. After sub-cutaneous injection, fluorescence intensity from AY-27/tdTomato cells was threefold stronger than that detected from AY-27/DsRed2-N1 cells. IVIS®200 detected fluorescence from AY-27/tdTomato and AY-27/DsRed2-N1 cells colonising resected and exteriorised bladders, respectively. However, the deep-seated position of the bladder precluded in vivo imaging. Characteristics of AY-27/tdTomato cells in vitro and in tumours colonising F344 rats resembled those of parental AY-27 cells. Tumour transformation was observed in the bladders colonised with AY-27/DsRed2-N1 cells.

CONCLUSIONS: In vivo whole-body imaging of internal red fluorescent animal tumours should use pcDNA3.1tdTomato rather than pDsRed2-N1. Optical imaging of deep-seated organs in larger animals remains a challenge which may require proteins with brighter red or far-red fluorescence and/or alternative approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-19
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Imaging and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA, Plant
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fluorescence
  • Lycopersicon esculentum
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Rats, Transgenic
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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