Development of a BAC vector for integration-independent and tight regulation of transgenes in rodents via the Tet system.
ABSTRACT The establishment of functional transgenic mouse lines is often limited by problems caused by integration site effects on the expression construct. Similarly, tetracycline (Tet) controlled transcription units most commonly used for conditional transgene expression in mice are strongly influenced by their genomic surrounding. Using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) technology in constitutive expression systems, it has been shown that integration site effects resulting in unwanted expression patterns can be largely eliminated. Here we describe a strategy to minimize unfavourable integration effects on conditional expression constructs based on a 75 kb genomic BAC fragment. This fragment was derived from a transgenic mouse line, termed LC-1, which carries the Tet-inducible genes luciferase and cre (Schönig et al. 2002). Animals of this mouse line have previously been shown to exhibit optimal expression properties in terms of tightness in the off state and the absolute level of induction, when mated to appropriate transactivator expressing mice. Here we report the cloning and identification of the transgenic LC-1 integration site which was subsequently inserted into a bacterial artificial chromosome. We demonstrate that this vector facilitates the efficient generation of transgenic mouse and rat lines, where the Tet-controlled expression unit is shielded from perturbations caused by the integration site.
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ABSTRACT: Optogenetics has been enthusiastically pursued in recent neuroscience research, and the causal relationship between neural activity and behavior is becoming ever more accessible. Here, we established knockin-mediated enhanced gene expression by improved tetracycline-controlled gene induction (KENGE-tet) and succeeded in generating transgenic mice expressing a highly light-sensitive channelrhodopsin-2 mutant at levels sufficient to drive the activities of multiple cell types. This method requires two lines of mice: one that controls the pattern of expression and another that determines the protein to be produced. The generation of new lines of either type readily expands the repertoire to choose from. In addition to neurons, we were able to manipulate the activity of nonexcitable glial cells in vivo. This shows that our system is applicable not only to neuroscience but also to any biomedical study that requires understanding of how the activity of a selected population of cells propagates through the intricate organic systems.Cell Reports 07/2012; 2(2):397-406. · 7.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The serotonergic (5-HT) neuronal system has important and diverse physiological functions throughout development and adulthood. Its dysregulation during development or later in adulthood has been implicated in many neuropsychiatric disorders. Transgenic animal models designed to study the contribution of serotonergic susceptibility genes to a pathological phenotype should ideally allow to study candidate gene overexpression or gene knockout selectively in serotonergic neurons at any desired time during life. For this purpose, conditional expression systems such as the tet-system are preferable. Here, we generated a transactivator (tTA) mouse line (TPH2-tTA) that allows temporal and spatial control of tetracycline (Ptet) controlled transgene expression as well as gene deletion in 5-HT neurons. The tTA cDNA was inserted into a 196 kb PAC containing a genomic mouse Tph2 fragment (177 kb) by homologous recombination in E. coli. For functional analysis of Ptet-controlled transgene expression, TPH2-tTA mice were crossed to a Ptet-regulated lacZ reporter line (Ptet-nLacZ). In adult double-transgenic TPH2-tTA/Ptet-nLacZ mice, TPH2-tTA founder line L62-20 showed strong serotonergic β-galactosidase expression which could be completely suppressed with doxycycline (Dox). Furthermore, Ptet-regulated gene expression could be reversibly activated or inactivated when Dox was either withdrawn or added to the system. For functional analysis of Ptet-controlled, Cre-mediated gene deletion, TPH2-tTA mice (L62-20) were crossed to double transgenic Ptet-Cre/R26R reporter mice to generate TPH2-tTA/Ptet-Cre/R26R mice. Without Dox, 5-HT specific recombination started at E12.5. With permanent Dox administration, Ptet-controlled Cre-mediated recombination was absent. Dox withdrawal either postnatally or during adulthood induced efficient recombination in serotonergic neurons of all raphe nuclei, respectively. In the enteric nervous system, recombination could not be detected. We generated a transgenic mouse tTA line (TPH2-tTA) which allows both inducible and reversible transgene expression and inducible Cre-mediated gene deletion selectively in 5-HT neurons throughout life. This will allow precise delineation of serotonergic gene functions during development and adulthood.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(5):e38193. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Turning gene expression on and off at will is one of the most powerful tools for the study of gene function in vivo. While several conditional systems were successful in invertebrates, in mice the Cre/loxP recombination system and the Tet-controlled transcription activation system are predominant. Both expression systems allow for spatial and temporal control of gene activities, in the case of Tet regulation, even for the reversible activation/inactivation of gene expression. Although the rat is the principal experimental model in biomedical research, in particular in studies of complex diseases and in neuroscience, conditional rat transgenic systems are exceptionally rare in this species. RESULTS: We addressed this lack of technology and established and thoroughly characterized CreERT2 and tTA transgenic rats with forebrain specific transgene expression, controlled by the CaMKII alpha promoter. In addition, we developed new universal rat reporter lines for both transcription control systems and established inducible and efficient reporter gene expression in forebrain neurons. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that functional conditional genetic manipulations in the rat brain are both feasible and practicable and outline advantages and limitations of both systems.BMC Biology 09/2012; 10(1):77. · 7.43 Impact Factor