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Cell. 1987 Jul 31;50(3):435-43.

Cell lineage ablation in transgenic mice by cell-specific expression of a toxin gene.

Erratum in

  • Cell 1990 Aug 10;62(3):following 608.


A method of deleting specific cell lineages has been developed that entails microinjection into fertilized eggs of a chimeric gene in which a cell-specific enhancer/promoter is used to drive the expression of a toxic gene product. We show that microinjection of a construct in which the elastase I promoter/enhancer is fused to a gene for diphtheria toxin A polypeptide results in birth of mice lacking a normal pancreas because of expression of the toxin in pancreatic acinar cells. A small pancreatic rudiment, containing islet and duct-like cells, was observed in some of the transgenic mice. This method provides a new approach for studying cell-lineage relationships and for analyzing cellular interactions during development.

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