Cell lineage ablation in transgenic mice by cell-specific expression of a toxin gene

Cell. 1987 Jul 31;50(3):435-43. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(87)90497-1.


A method of deleting specific cell lineages has been developed that entails microinjection into fertilized eggs of a chimeric gene in which a cell-specific enhancer/promoter is used to drive the expression of a toxic gene product. We show that microinjection of a construct in which the elastase I promoter/enhancer is fused to a gene for diphtheria toxin A polypeptide results in birth of mice lacking a normal pancreas because of expression of the toxin in pancreatic acinar cells. A small pancreatic rudiment, containing islet and duct-like cells, was observed in some of the transgenic mice. This method provides a new approach for studying cell-lineage relationships and for analyzing cellular interactions during development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • DNA, Recombinant*
  • Diphtheria Toxin / genetics*
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Mice
  • Microinjections
  • Morphogenesis
  • Ovum
  • Pancreas / cytology
  • Pancreas / enzymology
  • Pancreatic Elastase / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • Diphtheria Toxin
  • Pancreatic Elastase