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Genesis. 2011 May;49(5):403-9. doi: 10.1002/dvg.20725.

A mart-1::Cre transgenic line induces recombination in melanocytes and retinal pigment epithelium.

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Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), School of Life Sciences, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Station 19, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


The number of transgenic mouse lines expressing Cre in either type of pigment cells (melanocytes and retinal pigment epithelium, RPE) is limited, and the available lines do not always offer sufficient specificity. In this study, we addressed this issue and we report on the generation of a MART-1::Cre BAC transgenic mouse line, in which the expression of Cre recombinase is controlled by regulatory elements of the pigment cell-specific gene MART-1 (mlana). When MART-1::Cre BAC transgenic mice were bred with the ROSA26-R reporter line, ß-galactosidase expression was observed in RPE from E12.5 onwards, and in melanocyte precursors from E17.5, indicating that the MART-1::Cre line provides Cre recombinase activity in pigment-producing cells rather than in a particular lineage. In addition, breeding of this mouse line to mice carrying a conditional allele of RBP-Jκ corroborated the reported phenotypes in both pigment cell lineages, inducing hair greying and microphthalmia. Our results thus suggest, that the MART-1::Cre line may serve as a novel and useful tool for functional studies in melanocytes and the RPE.genesis 49:403-409, 2011.

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