Zp3-cre, a transgenic mouse line for the activation or inactivation of loxP-flanked target genes specifically in the female germ line

Curr Biol. 1997 Feb 1;7(2):148-51. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(06)00059-5.


The site-specific DNA recombinase Cre is being used to develop a new generation of tools for controlling gene expression in mice [1]. Cre mediates the recombination of two directly repeated target (loxP) sites to a single loxP site, with concomitant excision of the DNA segment flanked by the loxP sites (the 'floxed' DNA). Such recombination can function to activate a gene by excising a floxed DNA segment that blocks expression because it either separates the regulatory and coding sequences of the gene [2] or interrupts the gene's open reading frame. Conversely, DNA excision can inactivate a gene if an essential fragment of the gene is floxed [3]. Gene activation or inactivation in vivo can be achieved by mating two different animals, one carrying a 'target gene' with appropriately placed loxP sites and one carrying a cre transgene. In most cases, the specificity of the system is dependent upon stringent regulation of cre expression. We describe here a mouse line in which cre expression is controlled by regulatory sequences from the mouse zona pellucida 3 (Zp3) gene, which is normally expressed exclusively in the growing oocyte prior to the completion of the first meiotic division [4]. We show that in target-bearing Zp3-cre mice, Cre-mediated recombination of the target gene apparently occurs in 100 % of oocytes. Moreover, Cre activity is not detected in the somatic tissues of most target-bearing Zp3-cre mice. Potential uses for this mouse line are discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Primers
  • Egg Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Egg Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Integrases / biosynthesis*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Male
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Cell Surface*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Viral Proteins*
  • Zona Pellucida / physiology*
  • Zona Pellucida Glycoproteins


  • DNA Primers
  • Egg Proteins
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Viral Proteins
  • Zona Pellucida Glycoproteins
  • Zp3 protein, mouse
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases