Gs-DREADD Knock-In Mice for Tissue-Specific, Temporal Stimulation of Cyclic AMP Signaling

Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Apr 14;37(9):e00584-16. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00584-16. Print 2017 May 1.


Hundreds of hormones and ligands stimulate cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling in different tissues through the activation of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Although the functions and individual effectors of cAMP signaling are well characterized in many tissues, pleiotropic effects of GPCR agonists limit investigations of physiological functions of cAMP signaling in individual cell types at different developmental stages in vivo To facilitate studies of cAMP signaling in specific cell populations in vivo, we harnessed the power of DREADD (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) technology by creating ROSA26-based knock-in mice for the conditional expression of a Gs-coupled DREADD (rM3Ds-green fluorescent protein [GFP], or "GsD"). After Cre recombinase expression, GsD is activated temporally by the administration of the ligand clozapine N-oxide (CNO). In the same allele, we engineered a CREB-luciferase reporter transgene for noninvasive bioluminescence monitoring of CREB activity. After viral delivery of Cre recombinase to hepatocytes in vivo, GsD is expressed and allows CNO-dependent cAMP signaling and glycogen breakdown. The long-term expression of GsD in the liver results in constitutive CREB activity and hyperglycemia. ROSA26-Gs-DREADD mice can be used to study the physiological effects of cAMP signaling, acute or chronic, in liver or any tissue or cell type for which transgenic or viral Cre drivers are available.

Keywords: CREB; DREADD; GPCR; bioluminescence imaging; cyclic AMP; glucose metabolism; liver.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Clozapine / analogs & derivatives
  • Clozapine / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / genetics
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / drug effects
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Blood Glucose
  • Creb1 protein, mouse
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • Gt(ROSA)26Sor non-coding RNA, mouse
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases
  • Glucose
  • Clozapine
  • clozapine N-oxide