ABSTRACT: The Cre/loxP site-specific recombination system has been widely used to manipulate DNA in vivo and to study gene function in the mouse by inducible transgenic and conditional gene targeting. To fully use this powerful genetic tool in a relatively new animal model, zebrafish, we generated reporter transgenic lines for easy detection of Cre recombinase activity in vivo. The transgenic fish lines, designated G2R, express two fluorescent protein genes, GFP and RFP, under the control of the ubiquitous promoter of the Xenopus EF1 alpha gene. The G2R animals change their color from green to red (G2R) after Cre-mediated recombination and are useful for development of cell type specific Cre transgenic lines and for cell lineage and fate mapping studies in zebrafish.
Project description:The Cre-loxP system is widely used for making conditional alterations to the mouse genome. Cre-mediated recombination is frequently monitored using reporter lines in which Cre expression activates a reporter gene driven by a ubiquitous promoter. Given the distinct advantages of fluorescent reporters, we developed a transgenic reporter line, termed IRG, in which DsRed-Express, a red fluorescent protein (RFP) is expressed ubiquitously prior to Cre-mediated recombination and an enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) following recombination. Besides their utility for monitoring Cre-mediated recombination, we show that in IRG mice red and green native fluorescence can be imaged simultaneously in thick tissue sections by confocal microscopy allowing for complex reconstructions to be created that are suitable for analysis of neuronal morphologies as well as neurovascular interactions in brain. IRG mice should provide a versatile tool for analyzing complex cellular relationships in both neural and nonneural tissues.
Project description:The Cre/loxP recombination system has revolutionized the ability to genetically manipulate animal genomes in order to conditionally control gene expression. With recent advances in genome editing, barriers to manipulating the rat genome have been overcome and it is now possible to generate new rat strains (Cre drivers) in which Cre recombinase expression is carefully controlled temporally and/or spatially. However, the ability to evaluate and characterize these Cre driver strains is limited by the availability of reliable reporter rat strains. Here, we describe the generation and characterization of a new transgenic rat strain in which conditional expression of the ZsGreen fluorescent protein gene requires the presence of exogenous Cre recombinase. Breeding Cre-expressing rat strains to this stable ZsGreen reporter strain provides an ideal method for validating new rat Cre driver lines and will greatly accelerate the characterization pipeline.
Project description:Here we report a new transgenic expression system by combination of liver-specific expression, mifepristone induction and Cre-loxP recombination to conditionally control the expression of oncogenic kras(V12). This transgenic system allowed expression of kras(V12) specifically in the liver by a brief exposure of mifepristone to induce permanent genomic recombination mediated by the Cre-loxP system. We found that liver tumors were generally induced from multiple foci due to incomplete Cre-loxP recombination, thus mimicking naturally occurring human tumors resulting from one or a few mutated cells and clonal proliferation to form nodules. Similar to our earlier studies by both constitutive and inducible expression of the kras(V12) oncogene, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the main type of liver tumor induced by kras(V12) expression. Moreover, mixed tumors with hepatocellular adenoma and hepatoblastoma (HB) were also frequently observed. Molecular analyses also indicated similar increase of phosphorylated ERK1/2 in all types of liver tumors, but nuclear localization of ?-catenin, a sign of malignant transformation, was found only in HCC and HB. Taken together, our new transgenic system reported in this study allows transgenic kras(V12) expression specifically in the zebrafish liver only by a brief exposure of mifepristone to induce permanent genomic recombination mediated by the Cre-loxP system.
Project description:The Cre/loxP system is a strategy for controlling temporal and/or spatial gene expression through genome alteration in mice. As successful Cre/loxP genome alteration depends on Cre-driver mice, Cre-reporter mice are essential for validation of Cre gene expression in vivo. In most Cre-reporter mouse strains, although the presence of reporter product indicates the expression of Cre recombinase, it has remained unclear whether a lack of reporter signal indicates either no Cre recombinase expression or insufficient reporter gene promoter activity. We produced a novel ROSA26 knock-in Cre-reporter C57BL/6N strain exhibiting green emission before and red after Cre-mediated recombination, designated as strain R26GRR. Ubiquitous green fluorescence and no red fluorescence were observed in R26GRR mice. To investigate the activation of tdsRed, EGFP-excised R26GRR, R26RR, mice were produced through the crossing of C57BL/6N mice with R26GRR/Ayu1-Cre F1 mice. R26RR mice showed extraordinarily strong red fluorescence in almost all tissues examined, suggesting ubiquitous activation of the second reporter in all tissues after Cre/loxP recombination. Moreover, endothelial cell lineage and pancreatic islet-specific expression of red fluorescence were detected in R26GRR/Tie2-Cre F1 mice and R26GRR /Ins1-Cre F1 mice, respectively. These results indicated that R26GRR mice are a useful novel Cre-reporter mouse strain. In addition, R26GRR mice with a pure C57BL/6N background represent a valuable source of green-to-red photoconvertible cells following Cre/loxP recombination for application in transplantation studies. The R26GRR mouse strain will be available from RIKEN BioResource Center (http://www.brc.riken.jp/lab/animal/en/).
Project description:The Cre/loxP system is increasingly exploited for genetic manipulation of DNA in vitro and in vivo. It was previously reported that inactive ''split-Cre'' fragments could restore Cre activity in transgenic mice when overlapping co-expression was controlled by two different promoters. In this study, we analyzed recombination activities of split-Cre proteins, and found that no recombinase activity was detected in the in vitro recombination reaction in which only the N-terminal domain (NCre) of split-Cre protein was expressed, whereas recombination activity was obtained when the C-terminal (CCre) or both NCre and CCre fragments were supplied. We have also determined the recombination efficiency of split-Cre proteins which were co-expressed in hair roots of transgenic tobacco. No Cre recombination event was observed in hair roots of transgenic tobacco when the NCre or CCre genes were expressed alone. In contrast, an efficient recombination event was found in transgenic hairy roots co-expressing both inactive split-Cre genes. Moreover, the restored recombination efficiency of split-Cre proteins fused with the nuclear localization sequence (NLS) was higher than that of intact Cre in transgenic lines. Thus, DNA recombination mediated by split-Cre proteins provides an alternative method for spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression in transgenic plants.
Project description:We have created a stable transgenic rag2-EGFP-mMyc zebrafish line that develops GFP-labeled T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), allowing visualization of the onset and spread of this disease. Here, we show that leukemias from this transgenic line are highly penetrant and render animals moribund by 80.7 +/- 17.6 days of life (+/-1 SD, range = 50-158 days). These T cell leukemias are clonally aneuploid, can be transplanted into irradiated recipient fish, and express the zebrafish orthologues of the human T-ALL oncogenes tal1/scl and lmo2, thus providing an animal model for the most prevalent molecular subgroup of human T-ALL. Because T-ALL develops very rapidly in rag2-EGFP-mMyc transgenic fish (in which "mMyc" represents mouse c-Myc), this line can only be maintained by in vitro fertilization. Thus, we have created a conditional transgene in which the EGFP-mMyc oncogene is preceded by a loxed dsRED2 gene and have generated stable rag2-loxP-dsRED2-loxP-EGFP-mMyc transgenic zebrafish lines, which have red fluorescent thymocytes and do not develop leukemia. Transgenic progeny from one of these lines can be induced to develop T-ALL by injecting Cre RNA into one-cell-stage embryos, demonstrating the utility of the Cre/lox system in the zebrafish and providing an essential step in preparing this model for chemical and genetic screens designed to identify modifiers of Myc-induced T-ALL.
Project description:There are many transgenic GFP reporter lines that allow the visualization of specific populations of cells. Using such lines for functional studies requires a method that transforms GFP into a molecule that enables genetic manipulation. We developed a method that exploits GFP for gene manipulation, Cre recombinase dependent on GFP (CRE-DOG), a split component system that uses GFP and its derivatives to directly induce Cre/loxP recombination. Using plasmid electroporation and AAV viral vectors, we delivered CRE-DOG to multiple GFP mouse lines, which led to effective recombination selectively in GFP-labeled cells. Furthermore, CRE-DOG enabled optogenetic control of these neurons. Beyond providing a new set of tools for manipulation of gene expression selectively in GFP(+) cells, we found that GFP can be used to reconstitute the activity of a protein not known to have a modular structure, suggesting that this strategy might be applicable to a wide range of proteins.
Project description:In vivo genetic manipulation is used to study the impact of gene deletion or re-expression on ?-cell function and organism physiology. Cre-LoxP is a system wherein LoxP sites flanking a gene are recognized by Cre recombinase. Cre transgenic mice are the most prevalent technology used to deliver Cre but many models have caveats of off-target recombination, impaired ?-cell function, and high cost of animal production. Inducible estrogen receptor conjugated Cre models face leaky recombination and confounding effects of tamoxifen. As an alternative, we characterize an adeno associated virus (AAV) with a rat insulin 1 promoter driving Cre recombinase (AAV8 Ins1-Cre) that is economical and rapid to implement, and has limited caveats. Intraperitoneal AAV8 Ins1-Cre produced efficient ?-cell recombination, alongside some hepatic, exocrine pancreas, ?-cell, ?-cell, and hypothalamic recombination. Delivery of lower doses via the pancreatic duct retained good rates of ?-cell recombination and limited rates of off-target recombination. Unlike inducible Cre in transgenic mice, AAV8 Ins1-Cre required no tamoxifen and premature recombination was avoided. We demonstrate the utility of this technology by inducing hyperglycemia in inducible insulin knockout mice (Ins1-/-;Ins2f/f). AAV-mediated expression of Cre in ?-cells provides an effective alternative to transgenic approaches for inducible knockout studies.
Project description:To circumvent the silencing effect of transgene expression in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), we employed the Cre recombination-mediated cassette exchange strategy to target the silencing-resistant site in the genome. We have identified new loci that sustain transgene expression during stem cell expansion and differentiation to cells representing the three germ layers in vitro and in vivo. The built-in double loxP cassette in the established master hESC lines was specifically replaced by a targeting vector containing the same loxP sites, using the cell-permeable Cre protein transduction method, resulting in successful generation of new hESC lines with constitutive functional gene expression, inducible transgene expression, and lineage-specific reporter gene expression. This strategy and the master cell lines allow for rapid production of transgenic hESC lines in ordinary laboratories.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Genetic mosaic techniques have been used to visualize and/or genetically modify a neuronal subpopulation within complex neural circuits in various animals. Neural populations available for mosaic analysis, however, are limited in the vertebrate brain. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To establish methodology to genetically manipulate neural circuits in medaka, we first created two transgenic (Tg) medaka lines, Tg (HSP:Cre) and Tg (HuC:loxP-DsRed-loxP-GFP). We confirmed medaka HuC promoter-derived expression of the reporter gene in juvenile medaka whole brain, and in neuronal precursor cells in the adult brain. We then demonstrated that stochastic recombination can be induced by micro-injection of Cre mRNA into Tg (HuC:loxP-DsRed-loxP-GFP) embryos at the 1-cell stage, which allowed us to visualize some subpopulations of GFP-positive cells in compartmentalized regions of the telencephalon in the adult medaka brain. This finding suggested that the distribution of clonally-related cells derived from single or a few progenitor cells was restricted to a compartmentalized region. Heat treatment of Tg(HSP:Cre x HuC:loxP-DsRed-loxP-GFP) embryos (0-1 day post fertilization [dpf]) in a thermalcycler (39°C) led to Cre/loxP recombination in the whole brain. The recombination efficiency was notably low when using 2-3 dpf embyos compared with 0-1 dpf embryos, indicating the possibility of stage-dependent sensitivity of heat-inducible recombination. Finally, using an infrared laser-evoked gene operator (IR-LEGO) system, heat shock induced in a micro area in the developing brains led to visualization of clonally-related cells in both juvenile and adult medaka fish. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We established a noninvasive method to control Cre/loxP site-specific recombination in the developing nervous system in medaka fish. This method will broaden the neural population available for mosaic analyses and allow for lineage tracing of the vertebrate nervous system in both juvenile and adult stages.