Which Reporter Gene to Use?
So you’ve decided to use noninvasive imaging, but where do you start? With the various reporter options available, how do you know which to choose? When selecting a reporter there are several factors to consider including the type of information you want to get as well as the equipment and resources available to you. Consider the following questions, or check out our reporter comparison chart below.
Nuclear reporters tend to be the most versatile of the reporters and provide excellent imaging for a wide variety of applications. However, they require very specialized and expensive equipment and have a steeper learning curve than the optical reporters.
Comparison of Reporter Gene Imaging Modalities
|Fluorescent Proteins (eGFP, DsRed)1||Near-infrared fluorescent protein (iRFP)||Luciferase||Tyrosinase||NIS||Nuclear Reporters|
|Recommended for small-animal imaging?||No2||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Equipment||Intravital microscope||Optical imager with cooled CCD camera||Optical imager with cooled CCD camera||Photoacoustic imaging system||SPECT or PET3||SPECT or PET3|
|Ease of use||User friendly||User friendly||User friendly||Training required||Training required||Training required|
|Recommended for large-animal imaging?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Sensitivity4||Best (in vitro)||Good||Best||Great||Excellent||Excellent|
|Spatial resolution||Superior (1-10 μm)||Moderate (2-3 mm)||Moderate (~ 5 mm)||Superior (0.01-1 mm)||Excellent (1-2 mm)||Excellent (1-2 mm)|
|Depth of signal penetration||< 1 cm||1 cm||1-2 cm||< 5 cm||Not limiting||Not limiting|
|Recommended for immunocompetent?||No||No||No||No||Yes||Some|
|Special considerations||Produces melanin, which is toxic: inducible expression preferred||Requires radioactive materials||Requires radioactive materials|