Cre/LoxP-mediated DNA recombination allows for gene function and cell lineage analyses during embryonic development and tissue regeneration. Here, we describe the derivation of a K19(CreERT) mouse line in which the tamoxifen-activable CreER(T) was knocked into the endogenous cytokeratin 19 locus. In the absence of tamoxifen, leaky Cre activity could be detected only in less than 1% of stomach and intestinal epithelial cells, but not in pancreatic or hepatic epithelial tissues. Tamoxifen administration in postnatal animals induced widespread DNA recombination in epithelial cells of pancreatic ducts, hepatic ducts, stomach, and intestine in a dose-dependent manner. Significantly, we found that Cre activity could be induced in the putative gut stem/progenitor cells that sustained long-term gut epithelial expression of a Cre reporter. This mouse line should therefore provide a valuable reagent for manipulating gene activity and for cell lineage marking in multiorgans during normal tissue homeostasis and regeneration.
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