Neural expression of alpha-internexin promoter in vitro and in vivo.J Cell Biochem. 2006 Feb 01; 97(2):275-87.JC
alpha-Internexin is a 66 kDa neuronal intermediate filament protein found most abundantly in the neurons of the nervous systems during early development. To characterize the function of mouse alpha-internexin promoter, we designed two different expression constructs driven by 0.7 kb or 1.3 kb of mouse alpha-internexin 5'-flanking sequences; one was the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) reporter for monitoring specific expression in vitro, and the other was the cre for studying the functional DNA recombinase in transgenic mice. After introducing DNA constructs into non-neuronal 3T3 fibroblasts and a neuronal Neuro2A cell line by lipofectamine transfection, we observed that the expression of EGFP with 1.3 kb mouse alpha-internexin promoter was in a neuron-dominant manner. To establish a tissue-specific pattern in the nervous system, we generated a transgenic mouse line expressing Cre DNA recombinase under the control of 1.3 kb alpha-Internexin promoter. The activity of the Cre recombinase at postnatal day 1 was examined by mating the cre transgenic mice to ROSA26 reporter (R26R) mice with knock-in Cre-mediated recombination. Analyses of postnatal day 1 (P1) newborns showed that beta-galactosidase activity was detected in the peripheral nervous system (PNS), such as cranial nerves innervating the tongue and the skin as well as spinal nerves to the body trunk. Furthermore, X-gal-labeled dorsal root ganglionic (DRG) neurons showed positive for alpha-Internexin in cell bodies but negative in their spinal nerves. The motor neurons in the spinal cord did not exhibit any beta-galactosidase activity. Therefore, the cre transgene driven by mouse alpha-internexin promoter, described here, provides a useful animal model to specifically manipulate genes in the developing nervous system.