Dopamine (DA) neurotransmission has been implicated in several neurological and psychiatric disorders. The dopamine transporter (DAT) is highly expressed in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral mesencephalon and regulates neurotransmission by transporting DA back into the presynaptic terminals. To mediate restricted DNA recombination events into DA neurons using the Cre/loxP technology, we have generated a knockin mouse expressing Cre recombinase under the transcriptional control of the endogenous DAT promoter. To minimize interference with DAT function by preservation of both DAT alleles, Cre recombinase expression was driven from the 3' untranslated region (3'UTR) of the endogenous DAT gene by means of an internal ribosomal entry sequence. Crossing this murine line with a LacZ reporter showed colocalization of DAT immunocytochemistry and beta-galactosidase staining in all regions analyzed. This knockin mouse can be used for generating tissue specific knockouts in mice carrying genes flanked by loxP sites, and will facilitate the analysis of gene function in dopaminergic neurons.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.