Efficient inducible Cre-mediated recombination in Tcf21 cell lineages in the heart and kidney

Genesis. 2011 Nov;49(11):870-7. doi: 10.1002/dvg.20750. Epub 2011 Aug 18.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cell Movement
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Genetic Loci
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / embryology
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Integrases / metabolism*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / embryology
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Pregnancy
  • Recombination, Genetic*
  • Species Specificity
  • Tamoxifen / pharmacology


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Tcf21 protein, mouse
  • Tamoxifen
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases