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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2002 Jul;13(7):1837-46.

Epithelial-specific Cre/lox recombination in the developing kidney and genitourinary tract.

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Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-8856, USA.


Ksp-cadherin is a unique, tissue-specific member of the cadherin family of cell adhesion molecules that is expressed in tubular epithelial cells in the kidney and developing genitourinary (GU) tract. It has recently been shown that a 1341-bp fragment of the 5' flanking region containing the Ksp-cadherin gene promoter can recapitulate the complete expression pattern of the gene in the developing kidney and GU tract. Similar to the endogenous Ksp-cadherin gene, transgenes containing 1341 bp of the 5' flanking region are expressed in developing nephrons, ureteric bud, mesonephric tubules, Wolffian duct, and Müllerian duct. In adult mice, the expression is restricted to renal tubules. In the current study, Ksp1.3/Cre transgenic mice carrying 1329 bp of the Ksp-cadherin 5' flanking region linked to the Cre recombinase gene were produced. Adult transgenic mice expressed Cre recombinase in renal tubules, especially collecting ducts and thick ascending limbs of Henle's loops. Transgenic embryos expressed Cre recombinase in the branching ureteric bud, developing renal tubules, and sex ducts. Ksp1.3/Cre transgenic mice were crossed with mice carrying a lacZ reporter gene that is activated by Cre/lox-mediated genetic recombination. Bitransgenic progeny expressed lacZ exclusively in renal tubules, mesonephric tubules, ureteric bud, developing ureter, and Wolffian duct. These results demonstrate that Ksp1.3/Cre transgenic mice express Cre recombinase exclusively in the kidney and developing GU tract and can mediate epithelial-specific Cre/lox recombination in these tissues. Ksp1.3/Cre transgenic mice should be useful for cell lineage studies and kidney-specific gene targeting.

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