Bistra Iordanova1, 2, T K. Hitchens2, C S. Robison, L K. Pusateri, 2, Eric T. Ahrens, 2
1 Department of Biological Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, United States; 2Pittsburgh NMR Center for Biomedical Research, Pittsburgh, PA, United States
The blood-brain barrier presents a unique challenge for introducing therapeutic molecules. The olfactory epithelium in mammals circumvents this barrier and is a suitable target for therapeutic agents. Here, we report the design of improved MRI reporter gene. We modify mitochondrial ferritin to localize to the cell cytoplasm. We demonstrate its high iron loading efficiency in mammalian cells. We use this new reporter to image gene expression in native olfactory sensory neurons in the mouse epithelium. This MRI reporter can facilitate the study of molecular mechanisms of olfaction as well as monitoring the success of intranasal gene therapy in live animals.