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Annu Rev Physiol. 2004;66:647-63.

Genetically engineered mouse models for lung cancer.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


The lung is a complex organ consisting of numerous cell types that function to ensure sufficient gas exchange to oxygenate the blood. In order to accomplish this function, the lung must be exposed to the external environment and at the same time maintain a homeostatic balance between its function in gas exchange and the maintenance of inflammatory balance. During the past two decades, as molecular methodologies have evolved with the sequencing of entire genomes, the use of in vivo models to elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in pulmonary physiology and disease have increased. The mouse has emerged as a potent model to investigate pulmonary physiology due to the explosion in molecular methods that now allow for the developmental and tissue-specific regulation of gene transcription. Initial efforts to manipulate gene expression in the mouse genome resulted in the generation of transgenic mice characterized by the constitutive expression of a specific gene and knockout mice characterized by the ablation of a specific gene. The utility of these original mouse models was limited, in many cases, by phenotypes resulting in embryonic or neonatal lethality that prevented analysis of the impact of the genetic manipulation on pulmonary biology. Second-generation transgenic mouse models employ multiple strategies that can either activate or silence gene expression thereby providing extensive temporal and spatial control of the experimental parameters of gene expression. These highly regulated mouse models are intended to serve as a foundation for further investigation of the molecular basis of human disease such as tumorigenesis. This review describes the principles, progress, and application of systems that are currently employed in the conditional regulation of gene expression in the investigation of lung cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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