Use of PB-Cre4 Mice for Mosaic Gene Deletion

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Transgene expression from short promoters in transgenic animals can lead to unwanted transgene expression patterns, often as a byproduct of random integration of the expression cassette into the host genome. Here I demonstrate that the often used {PB-Cre4} line (also referred to as {"Probasin-Cre")}, although expressing exclusively in the male prostate epithelium when transmitted through male mice, can lead to recombination of {loxP-flanked} alleles in a large variety of tissues when transmitted through female mice. This aberrant Cre activity due to Cre expression in the oocytes leads to different outcomes for maternally or paternally transmitted {loxP-flanked} alleles: Maternally inherited {loxP-flanked} alleles undergo recombination very efficiently, making female {PB-Cre4} mice an efficient monoallelic {"Cre} deleter line". However, paternally inherited {loxP-flanked} alleles are inefficiently recombined by maternal {PB-Cre4}, giving rise to mosaic expression patterns in the offspring. This mosaic recombination is difficult to detect with standard genotyping approaches of many mouse lines and should therefore caution researchers using {PB-Cre4} to use additional approaches to exclude the presence of recombined alleles. However, mosaic recombination should also be useful in transgenic "knockout" approaches for mosaic gene deletion experiments.




Birbach, A. (2013). Use of PB-Cre4 Mice for Mosaic Gene Deletion. PLoS ONE, 8(1).

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