The activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is subject to complex transcriptional and post-translational regulation including the association with several proteins and variations in subcellular distribution. In the present study we describe a transgenic mouse model expressing eNOS fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP), which allows the study of localization and regulation of eNOS expression. We tested the functionality of eNOS in the eNOS-GFP mice. Expression of eNOS was restricted to the endothelial lining of blood vessels in various tissues tested, without appreciable expression in non-endothelial cells. Activity of the enzyme was confirmed by assaying the conversion of L-arginine to L-citrulline. NO production in isolated vessels was increased in transgenic mice when compared to non-transgenic control animals (4.88 +/- 0.59 and 2.48 +/- 0.47 micro mol/L NO, respectively, P < 0.005). Both the mean aortic pressure and the pulmonary artery pressure were reduced in eNOS-GFP mice (both approximately 30%, P < 0.05). Plasma cholesterol levels were also slightly reduced ( approximately 20%, P < 0.05). In conclusion, eNOS-GFP mice express functional eNOS and provide a unique model to study regulation of eNOS activity or eNOS-mediated vascular events, including response to ischemia, response to differences in shear stress, angiogenesis and vasculogenesis, and to study the subcellular distribution in relation with functional responses to these events.

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American Journal of Pathology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Haperen, R., Cheng, C., Mees, B., van Deel, E., de Waard, M., van Gent, T., … van Damme, L. (2003). Functional expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase fused to green fluorescent protein in transgenic mice. American Journal of Pathology. doi: