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PLoS One. 2014 Oct 1;9(10):e109193. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109193. eCollection 2014.

Hemizygous Le-Cre transgenic mice have severe eye abnormalities on some genetic backgrounds in the absence of LoxP sites.

Author information

1
Centre for Integrative Physiology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
2
Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.
3
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Medical Research Council Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Eye phenotypes were investigated in Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(fl/+) mice, which were expected to show tissue-specific reduction of Pax6 in surface ectoderm derivatives. To provide a better comparison with our previous studies of Pax6(+/-) eye phenotypes, hemizygous Le-Cre(Tg/-) and heterozygous Pax6(fl/+)mice were crossed onto the CBA/Ca genetic background. After the Le-Cre transgene had been backcrossed to CBA/Ca for seven generations, significant eye abnormalities occurred in some hemizygous Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(+/+) controls (without a floxed Pax6(fl) allele) as well as experimental Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(fl/+) mice. However, no abnormalities were seen in Le-Cre(-/-); Pax6(fl/+) or Le-Cre(-/-); Pax6(+/+) controls (without the Le-Cre transgene). The severity and frequency of the eye abnormalities in Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(+/+) control mice diminished after backcrossing Le-Cre(Tg/-) mice to the original FVB/N strain for two generations, showing that the effect was reversible. This genetic background effect suggests that the eye abnormalities are a consequence of an interaction between the Le-Cre transgene and alleles of unknown modifier genes present in certain genetic backgrounds. The abnormalities were also ameliorated by introducing additional Pax6 gene copies on a CBA/Ca background, suggesting involvement of Pax6 depletion in Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(+/+) mice rather than direct action of Cre recombinase on cryptic pseudo-loxP sites. One possibility is that expression of Cre recombinase from the Pax6-Le regulatory sequences in the Le-Cre transgene depletes cofactors required for endogenous Pax6 gene expression. Our observation that eye abnormalities can occur in hemizygous Le-Cre(Tg/-); Pax6(+/+) mice, in the absence of a floxed allele, demonstrates the importance of including all the relevant genetic controls in Cre-loxP experiments.

PMID:
25272013
PMCID:
PMC4182886
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0109193
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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