FLP/FRT and Cre/lox recombination technology in C. elegans

Methods. 2014 Aug 1;68(3):417-24. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2014.05.007. Epub 2014 May 27.


One of the most powerful aspects of biological inquiry using model organisms is the ability to control gene expression. A holy grail is both temporal and spatial control of the expression of specific gene products - that is, the ability to express or withhold the activity of genes or their products in specific cells at specific times. Ideally such a method would also regulate the precise levels of gene activity, and alterations would be reversible. The related goal of controlled or purposefully randomized expression of visible markers is also tremendously powerful. While not all of these feats have been accomplished in Caenorhabditis elegans to date, much progress has been made, and recent technologies put these goals within closer reach. Here, I present published examples of successful two-component site-specific recombination in C. elegans. These technologies are based on the principle of controlled intra-molecular excision or inversion of DNA sequences between defined sites, as driven by FLP or Cre recombinases. I discuss several prospects for future applications of this technology.

Keywords: Excision; Heat-shock; Inversion; Recombinase; Two-component system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics*
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Integrases / genetics*
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Cre recombinase
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • FLP recombinase
  • Integrases