Tcf21 is a Class II bHLH family member with essential roles in the formation of the lungs, kidneys, gonads, spleen, and heart. Here, we report the utility of a mouse line with targeted insertion of a tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase, MerCreMer at the Tcf21 locus. This mouse line will permit the inducible expression of Cre recombinase in Tcf21-expressing cells. Using ROSA26 reporter mice, we show that Cre recombinase is specifically and robustly activated in multiple Tcf21-expressing tissues during embryonic and postnatal development. The expression profile in the kidney is particularly dynamic with the ability to cause recombination in mesangial cells at one time of induction and podocytes at another time. These features make the Tcf21-driven inducible Cre line (Tcf21(iCre) ) a valuable genetic tool for spatiotemporal gene function analysis and lineage tracing of cells in the heart, kidney, cranial muscle, and gonads.
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