Characterization of Cre recombinase models for the study of adipose tissue

Adipocyte. 2014 Jul 1;3(3):206-11. doi: 10.4161/adip.29674. Epub 2014 Jun 27.


The study of adipose tissue in vivo has been significantly advanced through the use of genetic mouse models. While the aP2-Cre(BI) and aP2-Cre(Salk) lines have been widely used to target adipose tissue, the specificity of these lines for adipocytes has recently been questioned. Here we characterize Cre recombinase activity in multiple cell populations of the major adipose tissue depots of these and other Cre lines using the membrane-Tomato/membrane-GFP (mT/mG) dual fluorescent reporter. We find that the aP2-Cre(BI) and aP2-Cre(Salk) lines lack specificity for adipocytes within adipose tissue, and that the aP2-Cre(BI) line does not efficiently target adipocytes in white adipose depots. Alternatively, the Adiponectin-CreERT line shows high efficiency and specificity for adipocytes, while the PdgfRα-CreERUCL and PdgfRα-CreERJHU lines do not efficiently target adipocyte precursor cells in the major adipose depots. Instead, we show that the PdgfRα-Cre line is preferable for studies targeting adipocyte precursor cells in vivo.

Keywords: Cre recombinase; adipocyte; adipocyte stem cell; lineage tracing; mouse model.