Skip to main content
Article
False-positive beta-galactosidase staining in osteoclasts by endogenous enzyme: studies in neonatal and month-old wild-type mice
Odgren Lab Publications
  • Paul R. Odgren, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Carole A. MacKay, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • April Mason-Savas, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Meilheng Yang, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Genevieve Mailhot, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Mark J. Birnbaum, Merrimack College
UMMS Affiliation
Department of Cell Biology
Date
9-22-2006
Document Type
Article
Medical Subject Headings
Acid Phosphatase; Animals; Animals, Newborn; Bone and Bones; False Positive Reactions; Histocytochemistry; Isoenzymes; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Osteoclasts; beta-Galactosidase
Disciplines
Abstract
Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase (beta-gal), encoded by the lacZ gene, has become an essential tool in studies of gene expression and function in higher eukaryotes. lac-Z is widely used as a marker gene to detect expression of transgenes or Cre recombinase driven by tissue-specific promoters. The timing and location of promoter activity is easily visualized in whole embryos or specific tissues using the cleavable, chromogenic substrate, 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-D-galactopyranoside (X-gal). The tissue specificity of promoters in transgenic constructs is routinely tested by using a promoter of choice to drive lacZ. Alternatively, the targeted expression of Cre recombinase to perform in vivo recombination of loxP sites can be visualized by beta-gal staining in mice carrying a Cre-activated lacZ transgene, such as the ROSA26 strain. In the course of our investigations, we examined beta-gal activity in bone tissue from genetically normal mice using standard detection methodology and found very high endogenous activity in bone-resorbing osteoclasts. This was true in frozen, paraffin, and glycol methacrylate sections. X-gal staining colocalized with the osteoclast marker, tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP). beta-gal activity was present in osteoclasts in long bones, in the mandible, and in both neonatal and more mature animals. We present this brief article as a caution to those testing genetic models of skeletal gene expression using beta-gal as a marker gene.
Rights and Permissions
Citation: Connect Tissue Res. 2006;47(4):229-34. Link to article on publisher's site
Related Resources
Link to Article in PubMed
PubMed ID
16987755
Citation Information
Paul R. Odgren, Carole A. MacKay, April Mason-Savas, Meilheng Yang, et al.. "False-positive beta-galactosidase staining in osteoclasts by endogenous enzyme: studies in neonatal and month-old wild-type mice" Vol. 47 Iss. 4 (2006) ISSN: 0300-8207 (Linking)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/paul_odgren/18/