Odontoblast-specific expression of cre recombinase successfully deletes gene segments flanked by loxP sites in mouse teeth.Genesis. 2003 Feb; 35(2):94-9.G
Embryonic or neonatal lethality of mice with targeted disruption of critical genes preclude them from further characterization of specific roles of these genes during postnatal development and aging. In order to study the molecular roles of such genes in teeth, we generated transgenic mouse lines expressing bacteriophage Cre recombinase under the control of the mouse dentin sialophosphoprotein (dspp) gene promoter. The expression of Cre recombinase protein was mainly detected in the nucleus of the odontoblasts. The efficiency of Cre activity was analyzed by crossing the Dspp-Cre mice with ROSA26 reporter (R26R) mice. The offspring with both genotypes have shown specific deletion of intervening sequences flanked by loxP sites upstream of the reporter gene, thereby facilitating the expression of the beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) gene in the teeth. The activity of beta-gal was initially observed in the odontoblasts of 1-day-old mice and increased with tooth development. Almost all of the odontoblasts have shown lacZ activity by 3 weeks of age. We could not detect Cre recombinase activity in any other cells, including ameloblasts. These studies indicate that the Dspp-Cre transgenic mice will be valuable to generate odontoblast-specific gene knockout mice so as to gain insight into the molecular roles of critical genes in the odontoblasts during dentinogenesis.