Lineage tracing of axial progenitors using Nkx1-2CreERT2 mice defines their trunk and tail contributions

Aida Rodrigo Albors, Pamela Halley, Kate Storey (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)
    210 Downloads (Pure)


    The vertebrate body forms by continuous generation of new tissue from progenitors at the posterior end of the embryo. The study of these axial progenitors has proved challenging in vivo largely due to the lack of unique molecular markers to identify them. Here, we elucidate the expression pattern of the transcription factor Nkx1-2 in the mouse embryo and show that it identifies axial progenitors throughout body axis elongation, including neuromesodermal progenitors and early neural and mesodermal progenitors. We create a tamoxifen-inducible Nkx1-2CreERT2 37 transgenic mouse and exploit the conditional nature of this line to uncover the lineage contributions of Nkx1-2-expressing cells at specific stages. We show that early Nkx1-2-expressing epiblast cells contribute to all three germ layers, mostly neuroectoderm and mesoderm, excluding notochord. Our data are consistent with the presence of some self-renewing axial progenitors that continue to generate neural and mesoderm tissues from the tail bud. This study identifies Nkx1-2 expressing cells as the source of most trunk and tail tissues in the mouse and provides a useful tool to genetically label and manipulate axial progenitors in vivo.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number164319
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    Issue number19
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2018


    • axial progenitors
    • neuromesodermal progenitors
    • Nkx1-2
    • body axis elongation
    • genetic lineage tracing
    • mouse embryo
    • Neuromesodermal progenitors
    • Genetic lineage tracing
    • Mouse embryo
    • Axial progenitors
    • Body axis elongation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Molecular Biology
    • Developmental Biology


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