Nkx2-5, one of the earliest cardiac-specific markers in vertebrate embryos, was used as a genetic locus to knock in the Cre recombinase gene by homologous recombination. Offspring resulting from heterozygous Nkx2-5/Cre mice mated to ROSA26 (R26R) reporter mice provided a model system for following Nkx2-5 gene activity by beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) activity. beta-gal activity was initially observed in the early cardiac crescent, cardiomyocytes of the looping heart tube, and in the epithelium of the first pharyngeal arch. In later stage embryos (10.5-13.5 days postcoitum, dpc), beta-gal activity was observed in the stomach and spleen, the dorsum of the tongue, and in the condensing primordium of the tooth. The Nkx2-5/Cre mouse model should provide a useful genetic resource to elucidate the role of loxP manipulated genetic targets in cardiogenesis and other developmental processes.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.