In neural development, Semaphorin 3B (SEMA3B) is thought to play a role in guiding axons by repulsion. In nonneuronal tissue, SEMA3B has been postulated to be a tumor suppressor gene of lung and breast cancer. Much of the understanding of the function of members of the SEMA3 family has come from targeted deletion of these genes in mice (Sema3A, Sema3C, and Sema3F). Thus, targeted deletion of Sema3B in mice would prove invaluable in dissecting out its functions. To allow for maximum gene-targeting flexibility, we developed a generic targeting vector, pFlexible, containing the positive/negative selectable marker puroDeltatk and loxP and FRT recombination sites, and used it to target Sema3B in ES cells. Flpe- and Cre-mediated recombination in vitro generated ES cell lines that contained a conditional or null Sema3B allele, respectively, which were established as homozygous alleles in mice. Analysis of Sema3B null mice showed they were viable, fertile, and displayed no overt pathological abnormalities, suggesting an inherent correction mechanism or level of redundancy between the class 3 semaphorins. This targeting vector system has broad applicability in any knockout experiment and provides a flexible approach for the generation of modified alleles in mice.
Copyright (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.