Recombinase-mediated unidirectional DNA inversion and transcriptional arrest is a promising strategy for high throughput conditional mutagenesis in the mouse. Banks of mouse embryonic stem cells with defined, transcriptionally silent insertions that can be activated by Cre recombinase would take advantage of existing transgenic Cre lines to rapidly produce hundreds of lineage specific and temporally controlled knockout mice for each gene, thereby introducing significant parallelism to functional gene annotation. However, the extent to which this strategy results in effective gene knockout has not been established. To test the feasibility of this strategy we targeted ErbB3, a member of the ErbB family of tyrosine kinase receptors, using this strategy. Insertion of a reversed "flipflox" vector consisting of a gene inactivation cassette (GI) and an internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-GFP reporter into intron 1 of ErbB3 was transcriptionally silent and did not affect ErbB3 expression. Crosses with ubiquitous and lineage specific Cre recombinase expressing lines permanently inverted the inserted GI cassette and blocked ErbB3 expression. Unidirectional DNA inversion by in vivo recombination is an effective strategy for targeted or ubiquitous gene knockout.
Published 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.