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Physiol Genomics. 2002 Sep 3;10(3):211-5.

Smooth muscle expression of Cre recombinase and eGFP in transgenic mice.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-6401, USA.


We report the generation of transgenic mice designed to facilitate the study of vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle biology in vivo. The smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (smMHC) promoter was used to direct expression of a bicistronic transgene consisting of Cre recombinase and enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) coding sequences. Animals expressing the transgene display strong fluorescence confined to vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle. Enzymatic dissociation of smooth muscle yields viable, fluorescent cells that can be studied as single cells or sorted by FACS for gene expression studies. smMHC/Cre/eGFP mice were crossed with ROSA26/lacZ reporter mice to determine Cre recombinase activity; Cre recombinase was expressed in all smooth muscles in adult mice, and there was an excellent overlap between expression of the recombinase and eGFP. Initial smooth muscle-specific expression of fluorescence and Cre recombinase was detected on embryonic day 12.5. These mice will be useful to define smooth muscle gene function in vivo in mice, for the study of gene function in single, live cells, and for the determination of gene expression in vascular and nonvascular smooth muscle.

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