Cell type-specific genetic modification using the Cre/loxP system is a powerful tool for genetic analysis of distinct cell lineages. Because of the exquisite specificity of Vasa expression (confined to the germ cell lineage in invertebrate and vertebrate species), we hypothesized that a Vasa promoter-driven transgenic Cre line would prove useful for the germ cell lineage-specific inactivation of genes. Here we describe a transgenic mouse line, Vasa-Cre, where Cre is efficiently and specifically expressed in germ cells. Northern analysis showed that transgene expression was confined to the gonads. Cre-mediated recombination with the Rosa26-lacZ reporter was observed beginning at approximately e15, and was >95% efficient in male and female germ cells by birth. Although there was a potent maternal effect with some animals showing more widespread recombination, there was no ectopic activity in most adults. This Vasa-Cre transgenic line should thus prove useful for genetic analysis of diverse aspects of gametogenesis and as a general deletor line.
Published 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.