BMP signaling plays pleiotropic roles in various tissues. Transgenic mouse lines that overexpress BMP signaling in a tissue-specific manner would be beneficial; however, production of each tissue-specific transgenic mouse line is labor-intensive. Here, using a Cre-loxP system, we generated a conditionally overexpressing mouse line for BMP signaling through the type I receptor ALK2 (alternatively known as AVCRI, ActRI, or ActRIA). By mating this line with Cre-expression mouse lines, Cre-mediated recombination removes an intervening floxed lacZ expression cassette and thereby permits the expression of a constitutively active form of Alk2 (caAlk2) driven by a ubiquitous promoter, CAG. Tissue specificity of Cre recombination was monitored by a bicistronically expressed EGFP following Alk2 cDNA. Increased BMP signaling was confirmed by ectopic phosphorylation of SMAD1/5/8 in the areas where Cre recombination had occurred. The conditional overexpression system described here provides versatility in investigating gene functions in a tissue-specific manner without having to generate independent tissue-specific transgenic lines.
Published 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.