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Tetracycline-inducible expression systems: new strategies and practices in the transgenic mouse modeling.

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Center of Experimental Animals, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510080, China.


To accurately analyze the function of transgene(s) of interest in transgenic mice, and to generate credible transgenic animal models for multifarious human diseases to precisely mimic human disease states, it is critical to tightly regulate gene expression in the animals in a conditional manner. The ability to turn gene expression on or off in the restricted cells or tissues at specific time permits unprecedented flexibility in dissecting gene functions in health and disease. Pioneering studies in conditional transgene expression have brought about the development of a wide variety of controlled gene expression systems, which meet this criterion. Among them, the tetracycline-controlled expression systems (e.g. Tet-off system and Tet-on system) have been used extensively in vitro and in vivo. In recent years, some strategies derived from tetracycline-inducible system alone, as well as the combined use of Tet-based systems and Cre/lox P switching gene expression system, have been newly developed to allow more flexibility for exploring gene functions in health and disease, and produce credible transgenic animal models for various human diseases. In this review these newly developed strategies are discussed.

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