Conditional gene deletion in specific neural axes using the Cre-loxP system
- Because of the limitations associated with a lack of promoters for specific brain nuclei involved in regulating cardiovascular function, we have utilized viral vectors to induce Cre-mediated deletion of genes in these regions using transgenic mice expressing floxed genes.
- Using a mouse model in which Cre activates reporter gene expression, we reported for the first time that recombination of loxP-flanked genes, i.e. gene deletion, could be achieved in discrete cardiovascular nuclei of the brain using targeted delivery of Cre viruses.
- Furthermore, we showed that specific subpopulations of cells within these nuclei could be targeted for deletion. This provides us with a very powerful approach for determining the functional role of genes within these sites. So far, we have focused on genes of the renin-angiotensin system in the brain, but the potential to target any genes in these circuitries makes this a very promising research strategy for our ongoing studies of other molecular mechanisms.