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Dev Biol. 2005 Apr 15;280(2):396-406.

Insertion of Cre into the Pax3 locus creates a new allele of Splotch and identifies unexpected Pax3 derivatives.

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Cardiovascular Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 19104, USA.


Pax3 is a transcription factor expressed in the dorsal neural tube and somite of the developing embryo. It plays critical roles in pre-migratory neural crest cells and in myogenic precursors of skeletal muscle. Pax3-deficient Splotch embryos display neural tube and neural crest defects and lack hypaxial muscles. We have created a new allele of Splotch by replacing the first coding exon with a gene encoding Cre recombinase. This functions as a null allele and no Pax3 protein is detected in homozygous embryos. Heterozygous Pax3(Cre/+) mice display a white belly spot, as do Splotch heterozygotes. Homozygous Pax3(Cre/Cre) embryos are embryonic lethal. We have used Pax3(Cre/+) mice to fate-map Pax3 derivatives in the developing mouse. As expected, neural crest and some somitic derivatives are identified. However, we also detect previously unappreciated derivatives of Pax3-expressing precursors in the colonic epithelium of the hindgut and within the urogenital system.

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