It has been difficult to follow many of the dramatic changes in cell fate and cell migration during mouse development. This is because there has been no enduring marker that would allow cells to be recognised in the living embryo. We believe that we have overcome this problem by developing a novel form of green fluorescent protein, named MmGFP, that proves to be easily visible and non toxic to mouse cells and does not perturb embryogenesis. We show that synthetic mRNA encoding MmGFP can be injected into blastomeres to follow the fate of their progeny during preimplantation development. We have made a stable embryonic stem cell line that expresses MmGFP and introduced these fluorescent cells into mouse embryos. For the first time, we have been able to follow the fate of embryonic stem cells in living embryos and to observe directly the contribution of these cells to distinct lineages of the postimplantation embryo. This approach should lead to a more complete description of the dynamics of cell fate in the mouse.

Amsterdam
A.
,
Lin
S.
,
Hopkins
N.
(
1995
)
The Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein can be used as a reporter in live zebrafish embryos.
Dev. Biol
171
,
123
129
Chalfie
M.
,
Tu
Y.
,
Euskirchen
G.
,
Ward
W. W.
,
Prasher
D. C.
(
1994
)
Green fluorescent protein as a marker for gene expression.
Science
263
,
802
805
Colledge
W. H.
,
Carlton
M. B.
,
Udy
G. B.
,
Evans
M. J.
(
1994
)
Disruption of c-mos causes parthenogenetic development of unfertilized mouse eggs [see comments].
Nature
370
,
65
68
Cormack
B. P.
,
Valdivia
R. H.
,
Falkow
S.
(
1996
)
Facs Optimized Mutants Of the Green Fluorescent Protein (Gfp).
Gene
173
,
33
38
Dalton
S.
(
1992
)
Cell cycle regulation of the human cdc2 gene.
EMBO J
11
,
1797
1804
Ehrig
T.
,
O'Kane
D. J.
,
Prendergast
F. G.
(
1995
)
Green-fluorescent protein mutants with altered fluorescence excitation spectra.
FEBS Lett
367
,
163
166
Evans
M. J.
,
Kaufman
M. H.
(
1981
)
Establishment in culture of pluripotential cells from mouse embryos.
Nature
292
,
154
156
Hampton
R. Y.
,
Koning
A.
,
Wright
R.
,
Rine
J.
(
1996
)
In vivo examination of membrane protein localization and degradation with green fluorescent protein.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
93
,
828
833
Haseloff
J.
,
Amos
B.
(
1995
)
GFP in plants.
Trends Genet
11
,
328
329
Heim
R.
,
Cubitt
A. B.
,
Tsien
R. Y.
(
1995
)
Improved green fluorescence [letter].
Nature
373
,
663
4
Heim
R.
,
Prasher
D. C.
,
Tsien
R. Y.
(
1994
)
Wavelength mutations and posttranslational autoxidation of green fluorescent protein.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
91
,
12501
12504
Ikawa
M.
,
Kominami
K.
,
Yoshimura
Y.
,
Tanaka
K.
,
Nishimune
Y.
,
Okabe
M.
(
1995
)
A rapid and non-invasive selection of transgenic embryos before implantation using green fluorescent protein (GFP).
FEBS Lett
375
,
125
128
Kerrebrock
A. W.
,
Moore
D. P.
,
Wu
J. S.
,
Orr Weaver
T. L.
(
1995
)
Mei-S332, a Drosophila protein required for sister-chromatid cohesion, can localize to meiotic centromere regions [see comments].
Cell
83
,
247
256
Marshall
J.
,
Molloy
R.
,
Moss
G. W.
,
Howe
J. R.
,
Hughes
T. E.
(
1995
)
The jellyfish green fluorescent protein: a new tool for studying ion channel expression and function.
Neuron
14
,
211
215
Martin
G. R.
,
Evans
M. J.
(
1975
)
Multiple differentiation of clonal teratoma stem cells following embryoid body formation in vitro.
Cell
6
,
467
474
Olson
K. R.
,
McIntosh
J. R.
,
Olmsted
J. B.
(
1995
)
Analysis of MAP 4 function in living cells using green fluorescent protein (GFP) chimeras.
J. Cell. Biol
130
,
639
650
Peters
K. G.
,
Rao
P. S.
,
Bell
B. S.
,
Kindman
L. A.
(
1995
)
Green fluorescent fusion proteins: powerful tools for monitoring protein expression in live zebrafish embryos.
Dev. Biol
171
,
252
257
Pines
J. N.
(
1995
)
Using GFP in mammalian cells.
Trends Genet
11
,
326
327
Prasher
D. C.
(
1995
)
Using GFP to see the light.
Trends Genet
11
,
320
323
Rizzuto
R.
,
Brini
M.
,
Pizzo
P.
,
Murgia
M.
,
Pozzan
T.
(
1995
)
Chimeric green fluorescent protein as a tool for visualizing subcellular organelles in living cells.
Curr. Biol
5
,
635
642
Snow
M. H. L.
(
1977
)
Gastrulation in the mouse: growth and regionalisation of the epiblast.
J. Embryol. Exp. Morph
42
,
293
303
Wang
S.
,
Hazelrigg
T.
(
1994
)
Implications for bcd mRNA localization from spatial distribution of exu protein in Drosophila oogenesis.
Nature
369
,
400
403
Whitten
W. K.
(
1971
)
Nutrient requirements for culture of preimplantation embryos in vitro.
Advances in the Biosciences
6
,
129
140
Whittingham
D. G.
(
1971
)
Culture of mouse ova.
J. Reprod. Fert
14
,
7
–.
Zernicka-Goetz
M.
,
Pines
J.
,
Ryan
K.
,
Siemering
K. R.
,
Haseloff
J.
,
Gurdon
J. B.
(
1996
)
An indelible lineage marker for Xenopus using a mutated green fluorescent protein.
Development
122
,
3719
3724
This content is only available via PDF.