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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 1, 1996; 93(20): 10887–10890.
PMCID: PMC38252

Ligand-activated site-specific recombination in mice.

Abstract

Current mouse gene targeting technology is unable to introduce somatic mutations at a chosen time and/or in a given tissue. We report here that conditional site-specific recombination can be achieved in mice using a new version of the Cre/lox system. The Cre recombinase has been fused to a mutated ligand-binding domain of the human estrogen receptor (ER) resulting in a tamoxifen-dependent Cre recombinase, Cre-ERT, which is activated by tamoxifen, but not by estradiol. Transgenic mice were generated expressing Cre-ERT under the control of a cytomegalovirus promoter. We show that excision of a chromosomally integrated gene flanked by loxP sites can be induced by administration of tamoxifen to these transgenic mice, whereas no excision could be detected in untreated animals. This conditional site-specific recombination system should allow the analysis of knockout phenotypes that cannot be addressed by conventional gene targeting.

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