Inducible site-specific recombination in neural stem/progenitor cells

Jian Chen, Chang Hyuk Kwon, Lu Lin, Yanjiao Li, Luis F. Parada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


To establish a genetic tool for manipulating the neural stem/progenitor cell (NSC) lineage in a temporally controlled manner, we generated a transgenic mouse line carrying an NSC-specific nestin promoter/enhancer expressing a fusion protein encoding Cre recombinase coupled to modified estrogen receptor ligand-binding domain (ERT2). In the background of the Cre reporter mouse strain Rosa26lacZ, we show that the fusion CreERT2 recombinase is normally silent but can be activated by the estrogen analog tamoxifen both in utero, in infancy, and in adulthood. As assayed by β-galactosidase activity in embryonic stages, tamoxifen activates Cre recombinase exclusively in neurogenic cells and their progeny. This property persists in adult mice, but Cre activity can also be detected in granule neurons and Bergmann glia at the anterior of the cerebellum, in piriform cortex, optic nerve, and some peripheral ganglia. No obvious Cre activity was observed outside of the nervous system. Thus, the nestin regulated inducible Cre mouse line provides a powerful tool for studying the physiology and lineage of NSCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • Cre-ER
  • Nestin
  • Neural stem cells
  • Recombination
  • Tamoxifen
  • Transgenic mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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