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Regen Med. 2008 Mar;3(2):217-35. doi: 10.2217/17460751.3.2.217.

Conditional transgenic mouse models: from the basics to genome-wide sets of knockouts and current studies of tissue regeneration.

Author information

  • 1Johannes Gutenberg-Universit├Ąt Mainz, Institute of Toxicology/Mouse Genetics, Obere Zahlbacher Str. 67,55131, Mainz, Germany. bockamp@mail.uni-mainz.de

Abstract

Many mouse models are currently available, providing avenues to elucidate gene function and to recapitulate specific pathological conditions. To a large extent, successful translation of clinical evidence or analytical data into appropriate mouse models is possible through progress in transgenic or gene-targeting technology. Beginning with a review of standard mouse transgenics and conventional gene targeting, this article will move on to discussing the basics of conditional gene expression: the tetracycline (tet)-off and tet-on systems based on the transactivators tet-controlled transactivator (Tta) and reverse tet-on transactivator (rtTA) that allow downregulation or induction of gene expression; Cre or Flp recombinase-mediated modifications, including excision, inversion, insertion and interchromosomal translocation; combination of the tet and Cre systems, permitting inducible knockout, reporter gene activation or activation of point mutations; the avian retroviral system based on delivery of rtTA specifically into cells expressing the avian retroviral receptor, which enables cell type-specific, inducible gene expression; the tamoxifen system, one of the most frequently applied steroid receptor-based systems, allows rapid activation of a fusion protein between the gene of interest and a mutant domain of the estrogen receptor, whereby activation does not depend on transcription; and techniques for cell type-specific ablation. The diphtheria toxin receptor system offers the advantage that it can be combined with the 'zoo' of Cre recombinase driver mice. Having described the basics we move on to the cutting edge: generation of genome-wide sets of conditional knockout mice. To this end, large ongoing projects apply two strategies: gene trapping based on random integration of trapping vectors into introns leading to truncation of the transcript, and gene targeting, representing the directed approach using homologous recombination. It can be expected that in the near future genome-wide sets of such mice will be available. Finally, the possibilities of conditional expression systems for investigating gene function in tissue regeneration will be illustrated by examples for neurodegenerative disease, liver regeneration and wound healing of the skin.

PMID:
18307405
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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