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Accueil > Agenda > Les séminaires Jean Roche > Conditional and inductible strategies to genetically dissect the role of (...)

Conditional and inductible strategies to genetically (...)

Lundi 3 octobre 2005, 11h, salle Lissitzky.


1 : Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Mar 22 ;33(5):e51. Conditional and inducible transgene expression in mice through the combinatorial use of Cre-mediated recombination and tetracycline induction. Belteki G, Haigh J, Kabacs N, Haigh K, Sison K, Costantini F, Whitsett J, Quaggin SE, Nagy A.

Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital 600 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5.

Here we describe a triple transgenic mouse system, which combines the tissue specificity of any Cre-transgenic line with the inducibility of the reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA)/tetracycline-responsive element (tet-O)-driven transgenes. To ensure reliable rtTA expression in a broad range of cell types, we have targeted the rtTA transgene into the ROSA26 locus. The rtTA expression, however, is conditional to a Cre recombinase-mediated excision of a STOP region from the ROSA26 locus. We demonstrate the utility of this technology through the inducible expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF-A) during embryonic development and postnatally in adult mice. Our results of adult induction recapitulate several different hepatic and immune cell pathological phenotypes associated with increased systemic VEGF-A protein levels. This system will be useful for studying genes in which temporal control of expression is necessary for the discovery of the full spectrum of functions. The presented approach abrogates the need to generate tissue-specific rtTA transgenes for tissues where well-characterized Cre lines already exist.

2 : Genesis. 2004 Nov ;40(3):131-8. Cre recombinase specificity defined by the tau locus. Korets-Smith E, Lindemann L, Tucker KL, Jiang C, Kabacs N, Belteki G, Haigh J, Gertsenstein M, Nagy A.

Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, 600 University Ave., Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1X5, Canada.

We generated a transgenic mouse line (tau::Cre) by targeting the Cre to the tau locus (Mapt). Based on previous reports on the expression of Tau during development, we expected the Cre recombinase to be expressed in a neuron-specific and pan-neuronal manner. However, intercrosses between the tau::Cre and the Cre-activatable reporter animals resulted in offspring with recombination either restricted to the nervous system or throughout the entire conceptus, indicating expression of Tau early in development. The percentage of neuron-specific excision was dependent on the Cre reporter used representing different Cre target sites in the mouse genome. In spite of the observed variability, our data suggest that the tau::Cre mouse line can be used for pan-neuronal recombination of floxed alleles when it is used with caution. Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

3 : Cancer Res. 2004 May 15 ;64(10):3508-16 Loss of vascular endothelial growth factor a activity in murine epidermal keratinocytes delays wound healing and inhibits tumor formation. Rossiter H, Barresi C, Pammer J, Rendl M, Haigh J, Wagner EF, Tschachler E.

Department of Dermatology, Institute of Clinical Pathology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

The angiogenic cytokine vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A plays a central role in both wound healing and tumor growth. In the skin, epidermal keratinocytes are a major source of this growth factor. To study the contribution of keratinocyte-derived VEGF-A to these angiogenesis-dependent processes, we generated mice in which this cytokine was inactivated specifically in keratin 5-expressing tissues. The mutant mice were macroscopically normal, and the skin capillary system was well established, demonstrating that keratinocyte-derived VEGF-A is not essential for angiogenesis in the skin during embryonic development. However, healing of full-thickness wounds in adult animals was appreciably delayed compared with controls, with retarded crust shedding and the appearance of a blood vessel-free zone underneath the newly formed epidermis. When 9,12-dimethyl 1,2-benzanthracene was applied as both tumor initiator and promoter, a total of 143 papillomas developed in 20 of 23 (87%) of control mice. In contrast, only three papillomas arose in 2 of 17 (12%) of the mutant mice, whereas the rest merely displayed epidermal thickening and parakeratosis. Mutant mice also developed only 2 squamous cell carcinomas, whereas 11 carcinomas were found in seven of the control animals. These data demonstrate that whereas keratinocyte-derived VEGF-A is dispensable for skin vascularization under physiological conditions, it plays an important albeit nonessential role during epidermal wound healing and is crucial for the development of 9,12-dimethyl 1,2-benzanthracene-induced epithelial skin tumors.

Dev Biol. 2003 Oct 15 ;262(2):225-41. 4 : Cortical and retinal defects caused by dosage-dependent reductions in VEGF-A paracrine signaling. Haigh JJ, Morelli PI, Gerhardt H, Haigh K, Tsien J, Damert A, Miquerol L, Muhlner U, Klein R, Ferrara N, Wagner EF, Betsholtz C, Nagy A.

Mount Sinai Hospital, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Canada.

To determine the function of VEGF-A in nervous system development, we have utilized the Nestin promoter-driven Cre recombinase transgene, in conjunction with a conditional and hypomorphic VEGF-A allele, to lower VEGF-A activity in neural progenitor cells. Mice with intermediate levels of VEGF-A activity showed decreased blood vessel branching and density in the cortex and retina, resulting in a thinner retina and aberrant structural organization of the cortex. Severe reductions in VEGF-A led to decreases in vascularity and subsequent hypoxia, resulting in the specific degeneration of the cerebral cortex and neonatal lethality. Decreased neuronal proliferation and hypoxia was evident at E11.5, leading to increased neuronal apoptosis in the cortex by E15.5. In order to address whether the observed changes in the structural organization of the nervous system were due to a direct and autocrine role of VEGF-A on the neural population, we conditionally inactivated the main VEGF-A receptor, Flk1, specifically in neuronal lineages, by using the Nestin Cre transgene. The normality of these mice ruled out the possibility that VEGF-A/Flk1 signaling has a significant autocrine role in CNS development. VEGF-A dosage is therefore a critical parameter regulating the density of the vascular plexus in the developing CNS that is in turn a key determinant in the development and architectural organization of the nervous system.

5 : Blood. 2004 Feb 1 ;103(3):912-20. Epub 2003 Oct 2. Activated Fps/Fes partially rescues the in vivo developmental potential of Flk1-deficient vascular progenitor cells. Haigh JJ, Ema M, Haigh K, Gertsenstein M, Greer P, Rossant J, Nagy A, Wagner EF.

Mount Sinai Hospital, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, 600 University Ave, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 1X5. haigh

Relatively little is known about the modulators of the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A)/Flk1 signaling cascade. To functionally characterize this pathway, VEGF-A stimulation of endothelial cells was performed. VEGF-A-mediated Flk1 activation resulted in increased translocation of the endogenous Fps/Fes cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase to the plasma membrane and increased tyrosine phosphorylation, suggesting a role for Fps/Fes in VEGF-A/Flk1 signaling events. Addition of a myristoylation consensus sequence to Fps/Fes resulted in VEGF-A-independent membrane localization of Fps/Fes in endothelial cells. Expression of the activated Fps/Fes protein in Flk1-deficient embryonic stem (ES) cells rescued their contribution to the developing vascular endothelium in vivo by using ES cell-derived chimeras. Activated Fps/Fes contributed to this rescue event by restoring the migratory potential to Flk1 null progenitors, which is required for movement of hemangioblasts from the primitive streak region into the yolk sac proper. Activated Fps/Fes in the presence of Flk1 increased the number of hemangioblast colonies in vitro and increased the number of mesodermal progenitors in vivo. These results suggest that Fps/Fes may act synergistically with Flk1 to modulate hemangioblast differentiation into the endothelium. We have also demonstrated that activated Fps/Fes causes hemangioma formation in vivo, independently of Flk1, as a result of increasing vascular progenitor density.

6 : J Clin Invest. 2003 Mar ;111(5):707-16. Glomerular-specific alterations of VEGF-A expression lead to distinct congenital and acquired renal diseases.

Eremina V, Sood M, Haigh J, Nagy A, Lajoie G, Ferrara N, Gerber HP, Kikkawa Y, Miner JH, Quaggin SE.

The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Kidney disease affects over 20 million people in the United States alone. Although the causes of renal failure are diverse, the glomerular filtration barrier is often the target of injury. Dysregulation of VEGF expression within the glomerulus has been demonstrated in a wide range of primary and acquired renal diseases, although the significance of these changes is unknown. In the glomerulus, VEGF-A is highly expressed in podocytes that make up a major portion of the barrier between the blood and urinary spaces. In this paper, we show that glomerular-selective deletion or overexpression of VEGF-A leads to glomerular disease in mice. Podocyte-specific heterozygosity for VEGF-A resulted in renal disease by 2.5 weeks of age, characterized by proteinuria and endotheliosis, the renal lesion seen in preeclampsia. Homozygous deletion of VEGF-A in glomeruli resulted in perinatal lethality. Mutant kidneys failed to develop a filtration barrier due to defects in endothelial cell migration, differentiation, and survival. In contrast, podocyte-specific overexpression of the VEGF-164 isoform led to a striking collapsing glomerulopathy, the lesion seen in HIV-associated nephropathy. Our data demonstrate that tight regulation of VEGF-A signaling is critical for establishment and maintenance of the glomerular filtration barrier and strongly supports a pivotal role for VEGF-A in renal disease.

7 : Development. 2003 Jan ;130(1):103-9. Impaired intervertebral disc formation in the absence of Jun. Behrens A, Haigh J, Mechta-Grigoriou F, Nagy A, Yaniv M, Wagner EF.

Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Dr Bohr-Gasse 7, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

Jun is a major component of the heterodimeric transcription factor AP-1 and is essential for embryonic development, as foetuses that lack Jun die at mid-gestation. Ubiquitous mosaic inactivation of a conditional Jun allele by cre/LoxP-mediated recombination was used to screen for novel functions of Jun and revealed that its absence results in severe malformations of the axial skeleton. More-specific Jun deletion by collagen2a1-cre demonstrated the essential function of Jun in the notochord and sclerotome. Mutant notochordal cells showed increased apoptosis, resulting in hypocellularity of the intervertebral discs. Subsequently, fusion of vertebral bodies caused a scoliosis of the axial skeleton. Thus, Jun is required for axial skeletogenesis by regulating notochord survival and intervertebral disc formation.

8 : Am J Pathol. 2001 Apr ;158(4):1199-206. Hyperglycemia-induced vasculopathy in the murine conceptus is mediated via reductions of VEGF-A expression and VEGF receptor activation. Pinter E, Haigh J, Nagy A, Madri JA.

Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Major congenital malformations, including those affecting the cardiovascular system, remain the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in infants of diabetic mothers. Interestingly, targeted mutations of several genes (including VEGF and VEGF receptors) and many teratogenic agents (including excess D-glucose) that give rise to embryonic lethal phenotypes during organogenesis are associated with a failure in the formation and/or maintenance of a functional vitelline circulation. Given the similarities in the pathology of the abnormal vitelline circulation in many of these conditions, we hypothesized that the hyperglycemic insult present in diabetes could cause the resultant abnormalities in the vitelline circulation by affecting VEGF/VEGF receptor signaling pathway(s). In this study we report that hyperglycemic insult results in reduced levels of VEGF-A in the conceptus, which in turn, leads to abnormal VEGF receptor signaling, ultimately resulting in embryonic (vitelline) vasculopathy. These findings and our observation that addition of exogenous rVEGF-A(165) within a defined concentration range blunts the hyperglycemia-induced vasculopathy in the conceptus support the concept that VEGF levels can be modulated by glucose levels. In addition, these findings may ultimately lead to novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of selected congenital cardiovascular abnormalities associated with diabetes.

9 : Development. 2000 Apr ;127(7):1445-53 Conditional inactivation of VEGF-A in areas of collagen2a1 expression results in embryonic lethality in the heterozygous state. Haigh JJ, Gerber HP, Ferrara N, Wagner EF.

Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Dr Bohr-Gasse 7, A-1030 Vienna, Austria.

VEGF-A has been implicated in regulating the initial angiogenic invasion events that are essential for endochondral bone formation. VEGF-A mRNA expression was indeed found in the sclerotome of the developing somite and in the limb-bud mesenchyme at E10.5 in mouse development but declined during chondrogenesis and became upregulated in hypertrophic chondrocytes prior to angiogenic invasion. To determine the functional importance of VEGF-A expression in the developing chondrogenic tissues, VEGF-A was conditionally inactivated during early embryonic development using Collagen2a1-Cre transgenic lines. Deletion of a single VEGF-A allele in Collagen2a1-Cre-expressing cells results in embryonic lethality around E10.5. This lethality is characterized by aberrant development of the dorsal aorta and intersomitic blood vessels, along with defects in the developing endocardial and myocardial layers of the heart. A small percentage of VEGF(Flox)/+, Collagen2a1-Cre fetuses survive until E17.5, show aberrant endochondral bone formation and develop a heart phenotype resembling a dilated form of ischemic cardiomyopathy. These results provide insights into the function of VEGF-A in heart and endochondral bone formation and underscore the importance of tightly controlled levels of VEGF-A during development.

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