Conditional knockout (KO) mouse models are invaluable for elucidating the physiological roles of platelets. The Platelet factor 4-Cre recombinase (Pf4-Cre) transgenic mouse is the current model of choice for generating megakaryocyte/platelet-specific KO mice. Platelets and leukocytes work closely together in a wide range of disease settings, yet the specific contribution of platelets to these processes remains unclear. This is partially a result of the Pf4-Cre transgene being expressed in a variety of leukocyte populations. To overcome this issue, we developed a Gp1ba-Cre transgenic mouse strain in which Cre expression is driven by the endogenous Gp1ba locus. By crossing Gp1ba-Cre and Pf4-Cre mice to the mT/mG dual-fluorescence reporter mouse and performing a head-to-head comparison, we demonstrate more stringent megakaryocyte lineage-specific expression of the Gp1ba-Cre transgene. Broader tissue expression was observed with the Pf4-Cre transgene, leading to recombination in many hematopoietic lineages, including monocytes, macrophages, granulocytes, and dendritic and B and T cells. Direct comparison of phenotypes of Csk, Shp1, or CD148 conditional KO mice generated using either the Gp1ba-Cre or Pf4-Cre strains revealed similar platelet phenotypes. However, additional inflammatory and immunological anomalies were observed in Pf4-Cre-generated KO mice as a result of nonspecific deletion in other hematopoietic lineages. By excluding leukocyte contributions to phenotypes, the Gp1ba-Cre mouse will advance our understanding of the role of platelets in inflammation and other pathophysiological processes in which platelet-leukocyte interactions are involved.
© 2019 by The American Society of Hematology.