Over the past 20 years, genetic manipulation has revolutionised our understanding of male reproductive development and function. The advent of transgenic mouse lines has permitted elegant dissection of previously intractable issues. The development of the Cre/Lox system, which has permitted spatial and temporal localisation of genetic manipulation, has expanded upon this, and now makes up one of the primary approaches underpinning our increasing understanding of testis development and function. The success of conditional gene targeting is largely reliant upon the choice of Cre recombinase expressing mouse line, which is required to specifically target the correct cell type at the correct time. Presupposition that Cre lines will behave as expected has been one of the main oversights in the design of Cre/Lox experiments, as in practice, many Cre lines are prone to ectopic expression (both temporal and spatial), transgene silencing or genetic background effects. Empirical validation of the spatiotemporal profile of Cre expression prior to undertaking conditional gene targeting studies is essential and can be achieved through a combination of molecular and immunohistochemical approaches, along with in vivo examination of reporter gene expression in targeted tissues. This paper details the key considerations associated with exploitation of the Cre/Lox system and highlights a variety of validated Cre lines that have utility for conditional gene targeting within the testis.
Pubmed ID: 21084571 RIS Download
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