Transgenic technologies in mice became invaluable experimental tools to identify the in vivo function of proteins. However, conventional knockout technology often results in embryonic lethality and because genes are frequently expressed in multiple cell types, the resulting knockout phenotypes can be complex and difficult or impossible to dissect. These issues are particularly important for gene-targeting strategies used to examine renal function. The kidney contains quite a number of different cell types, the function of many of which impacts that of other renal cells. To avoid these limitations conditional knockout strategies have been designed. As one important part of this system we describe the development of a mouse line expressing the tamoxifen-activatable Cre recombinase Cre-ER(T2) specifically in renal proximal tubules. The expression of Cre-ER(T2) is driven by a promoter fragment of the mouse gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase type II gene resulting in the generation of the activatable recombinase in S3 segments of the proximal tubules from which over 80% were positive for Cre activity. In combination with loxP-based conditional mutant mice as a second tool this tamoxifen-inducible Cre-ER(T2) line allows functional analysis of a variety of genes important for renal development and function in a precisely controlled spatiotemporal manner.
Copyright 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel.