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J Neurosci Methods. 2010 Nov 30;193(2):254-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Sep 9.

Adenoviral-mediated Cre expression effectively suppresses GlyT1 binding in the thalamic area of GlyT1 conditional knock-out mice.

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  • 1Biology Department A&S DPU, Neurosciences CEDD, GlaxoSmithKline, Medicines Research Center, Verona, Italy.


To properly understand the function of genes of neurological interest, in vivo manipulation in the adult is essential, particularly when the target gene is involved in brain development. Moreover, since the physiological effects of target protein may be region-specific, targeting a distinct brain region could be required to dissect these effects in specific brain locations. Infection of somatic tissues of transgenic mice bearing loxP-flanked gene sequences with a viral vector expressing Cre recombinase provides a means of allowing flexible spatio-temporal control of target gene expression. Viral vector-mediated Cre expression could be used to mediate localized gene modulation in a specific brain region. In the present study this technology was applied to the glycine transporter type-1 (GlyT1) protein which is responsible for the uptake of synaptic glycine in the forebrain and has been implicated as a therapeutic target for the treatment of schizophrenia. Since GlyT1 is widely expressed in glial cells, we employed an adenoviral-based vector (Ad5) to deliver Cre protein, due to the preferentially transduction of glial cells by adenoviral vectors in rodent brain. We show significant reduced GlyT1 binding specifically in the thalamic area of conditional GlyT1 (GlyT1c) transgenic mice injected with Ad5-Cre virus, as measured by GlyT1 autoradiography. In conclusion, we demonstrated the validity of viral vector-mediated delivery of Cre to loxP targeted transgenic mice as a novel strategy to investigate target gene function in selected subregions of the adult brain, which provides a valuable technique to investigate gene function both in normal physiology and in disease models.

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