Temporally regulated and tissue-specific gene manipulations in the adult and embryonic heart using a tamoxifen-inducible Cre protein.

, , , , , , , and . Circ. Res. 89 (1): 20-5 (July 2001)


The advent of conditional and tissue-specific recombination systems in gene-targeted or transgenic mice has permitted an assessment of single gene function in a temporally regulated and cell-specific manner. Here we generated transgenic mice expressing a tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase protein fused to two mutant estrogen-receptor ligand-binding domains (MerCreMer) under the control of the alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter. These transgenic mice were crossed with the ROSA26 lacZ-flox-targeted mice to examine Cre recombinase activity and the fidelity of the system. The data demonstrate essentially no Cre-mediated recombination in the embryonic, neonatal, or adult heart in the absence of inducing agent but >80\% recombination after only four tamoxifen injections. Expression of the MerCreMer fusion protein within the adult heart did not affect cardiac performance, cellular architecture, or expression of hypertrophic marker genes, demonstrating that the transgene-encoded protein is relatively innocuous. In summary, MerCreMer transgenic mice represent a tool for temporally regulated inactivation of any loxP-targeted gene within the developing and adult heart or for specifically directing recombination and expression of a loxP-inactivated cardiac transgene in the heart.


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