OPEN PloS one | 13 Nov 2012
W Kang and JM Hébert
The transcription factor gene Sox2 is expressed in embryonic neural stem/progenitor cells and previous evidence suggests that it is also expressed in adult neural stem cells. To target Sox2-expressing neural stem/progenitor cells in a temporal manner, we generated a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mouse line, in which an inducible form of Cre, CreER™, is expressed under Sox2 regulatory elements. Inducible Cre activity in these mice was characterized using floxed reporters. During development, the Sox2-CreER transgenic mice show inducible Cre activity specifically in CNS stem/progenitor cells, making them a useful tool to regulate the expression of floxed genes temporally in embryonic neural stem/progenitor cells. In the adult, we examined the cell-specific expression of Sox2 and performed long-term lineage tracing. Four months after the transient induction of Cre activity, recombined GFAP+ stem-like cells and DCX+ neuroblasts were still abundant in the neurogenic regions including the subventricular zone (SVZ), rostral migratory stream (RMS), and subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus. These results provide definitive in vivo evidence that Sox2 is expressed in neural stem cells (NSC) in both the SVZ and SGZ that are capable of self-renewal and long-term neurogenesis. Therefore, Sox2-CreER mice should be useful in targeting floxed genes in adult neural stem cells.
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