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PLoS One. 2013 Apr 22;8(4):e60905. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060905. Print 2013.

Detection and organ-specific ablation of neuroendocrine cells by synaptophysin locus-based BAC cassette in transgenic mice.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, United States of America.


The role of cells of the diffuse neuroendocrine system in development and maintenance of individual organs and tissues remains poorly understood. Here we identify a regulatory region sufficient for accurate in vivo expression of synaptophysin (SYP), a common marker of neuroendocrine differentiation, and report generation of Tg(Syp-EGFP(loxP)-DTA)147(Ayn) (SypELDTA) mice suitable for flexible organ-specific ablation of neuroendocrine cells. These mice express EGFP and diphtheria toxin fragment A (DTA) in SYP positive cells before and after Cre-loxP mediated recombination, respectively. As a proof of principle, we have crossed SypELDTA mice with EIIA-Cre and PB-Cre4 mice. EIIA-Cre mice express Cre recombinase in a broad range of tissues, while PB-Cre4 mice specifically express Cre recombinase in the prostate epithelium. Double transgenic EIIA-Cre; SypELDTA embryos exhibited massive cell death in SYP positive cells. At the same time, PB-Cre4; SypELDTA mice showed a substantial decrease in the number of neuroendocrine cells and associated prostate hypotrophy. As no increase in cell death and/or Cre-loxP mediated recombination was observed in non-neuroendocrine epithelium cells, these results suggest that neuroendocrine cells play an important role in prostate development. High cell type specificity of Syp locus-based cassette and versatility of generated mouse model should assure applicability of these resources to studies of neuroendocrine cell functions in various tissues and organs.

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