Macrophages are crucial for tissue homeostasis and play essential roles in inflammation, immunity and cancer, and therefore understanding macrophage biology is fundamental for understanding homeostasis and disease. Currently available mice that target Cre expression for the deletion of floxed genes to macrophages have significant and severe restrictions, primarily based on the promoter driving Cre expression. 1) all of the available promoters currently driving Cre in macrophages are active in the entire myeloid lineage and even other cell types, which is frequently stronger than the one in macrophages, and therefore lack macrophage specificity;2) currently available promoters only target a subset of macrophages;and 3) the two most commonly used Cre lines driven by F4/80 and LysM, are also knocked in one endogenous allele resulting in weak expression and prevent breeding of homozygous mice. The goal of this study is to develop and characterize a novel and improved transgenic mouse line to specifically target expression of Cre to macrophages. We propose to use the human CD68 promoter in combination with a macrophage-specific enhancer to drive expression of an activity-improved Cre and the dtTomato fluorescent protein from a bicistronic transcript for in vivo tracking and sorting. Transgenic mice will be extensively characterized with reporter genes and endogenous floxed genes and compared to the currently available Cre-expressing mice. Therefore our proposal to develop a novel true macrophage selective and specific Cre expressing mouse line in the C57BL/6 strain, and to make this mouse widely available to the research community, will significantly impact our current ability to study macrophages and will have significant ramifications for researchers studying macrophages in homeostasis, immunity and cancer, and will therefore enable the field to progress forward.
Macrophages are essential for tissue homeostasis and contribute to disease. Therefore understanding macrophage biology is fundamental to advance current knowledge of these processes, which requires macrophage specific deletion of genes using the Cre recombinase. Because currently available mice expressing Cre in macrophages have severe disadvantages, our study will develop and characterize a new and substantially improved transgenic mouse with macrophage specific expression of an improved version of Cre, which will be shared with the scientific community.
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