Characterization of transgenic mouse lines expressing Cre recombinase in the retina

Neuroscience. 2010 Jan 13;165(1):233-43. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.10.021. Epub 2009 Oct 23.


The mammalian retina consists of five major classes of neuronal cells, as well as glial cells, and it contains more than 50 cell types. The ability to manipulate gene expression in specific cell type(s) in the retina is important for understanding the molecular mechanisms of retinal function and diseases. The Cre/LoxP recombination system has become a powerful tool, allowing gene deletion, over-expression, and ectopic expression in vivo in a cell- and tissue-specific fashion. The key to this tool is the availability of Cre mouse lines with cell- or tissue-type specific expression of Cre recombinase. To date, a large number of Cre-transgenic mouse lines have been generated to target Cre recombinase expression to specific neuronal and glial cell populations in the central nervous system; however, information about the expression patterns of Cre recombinase lines in the retina is largely lacking. In this study, we examined and characterized the expression patterns of Cre recombinase in the retinas of 15 Cre-transgenic mouse lines. Significant Cre-induced recombination or expression of Cre recombinase was observed in the majority of these lines. In particular, we found several Cre lines in which the Cre-induced recombination was found to target exclusively or predominantly a single type or class of retinal cells, including bistratified retinal ganglion cells, starburst amacrine cells, rod bipolar cells, and Müller glial cells. In other lines, the Cre-induced recombination was found in several retinal cell types. These Cre lines provide a valuable resource for retinal research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Integrases / biosynthesis*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic*
  • Recombinant Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / enzymology*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases