The lymphatic system is essential in many physiological and pathological processes. Still, much remains to be known about the molecular mechanisms that control its development and function and how to modulate them therapeutically. The study of these mechanisms will benefit from better controlled genetic mouse models targeting specifically lymphatic endothelial cells. Among the genes expressed predominantly in lymphatic endothelium, Vegfr3 was the first one identified and is still considered to be one of the best lymphatic markers and a key regulator of the lymphatic system. Here, we report the generation of a Vegfr3-CreER (T2) knockin mouse by gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. This mouse expresses the tamoxifen-inducible CreER(T2) recombinase under the endogenous transcriptional control of the Vegfr3 gene without altering its physiological expression or regulation. The Vegfr3-CreER (T2) allele drives efficient recombination of floxed sequences upon tamoxifen administration specifically in Vegfr3-expressing cells, both in vitro, in primary lymphatic endothelial cells, and in vivo, at different stages of mouse embryonic development and postnatal life. Thus, our Vegfr3-CreER (T2) mouse constitutes a new powerful genetic tool for lineage tracing analysis and for conditional gene manipulation in the lymphatic endothelium that will contribute to improve our current understanding of this system.
Keywords: Cre recombinase; Gene targeting; Lymphatic system; VEGF receptor-3.