Endothelin-1 (EDN1) influences both craniofacial and cardiovascular development and a number of adult physiological conditions by binding to one or both of the known endothelin receptors, thus initiating multiple signaling cascades. Animal models containing both conventional and conditional loss of the Edn1 gene have been used to dissect EDN1 function in both embryos and adults. However, while transgenic Edn1 over-expression or targeted genomic insertion of Edn1 has been performed to understand how elevated levels of Edn1 result in or exacerbate disease states, an animal model in which Edn1 over-expression can be achieved in a spatiotemporal-specific manner has not been reported. Here we describe the creation of Edn1 conditional over-expression transgenic mouse lines in which the chicken β-actin promoter and an Edn1 cDNA are separated by a strong stop sequence flanked by loxP sites. In the presence of Cre, the stop cassette is removed, leading to Edn1 expression. Using the Wnt1-Cre strain, in which Cre expression is targeted to the Wnt1-expressing domain of the central nervous system (CNS) from which neural crest cells (NCCs) arise, we show that stable chicken β-actin-Edn1 (CBA-Edn1) transgenic lines with varying EDN1 protein levels develop defects in NCC-derived tissues of the face, though the severity differs between lines. We also show that Edn1 expression can be achieved in other embryonic tissues utilizing other Cre strains, with this expression also resulting in developmental defects. CBA-Edn1 transgenic mice will be useful in investigating diverse aspects of EDN1-mediated-development and disease, including understanding how NCCs achieve and maintain a positional and functional identity and how aberrant EDN1 levels can lead to multiple physiological changes and diseases.
Keywords: Craniofacial; Endothelin-A receptor; Hypertension; Neural crest cell.
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