Reduction of Cre recombinase toxicity in proliferating Drosophila cells by estrogen-dependent activity regulation
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The Cre/loxP site-specific recombination system has been used successfully for genome manipulation in a wide range of species. However, in Drosophila melanogaster, a major model organism for genetic analyses, the alternative FLP/FRT system, which is less efficient at least in mammalian cells, has been established, primarily for the generation of genetic mosaics for clonal analyses. To extend genetic methodology in D. melanogaster, we have created transgenic lines allowing tissue-specific expression of Cre recombinase with the UAS/GAL4 system. Surprisingly, chronic expression of Cre recombinase from these transgenes (UAST-cre) was found to be toxic for proliferating cells. Therefore, we also generated transgenic lines allowing the expression of Cre recombinase fused to the ligand-binding domain of the human estrogen receptor (UASP-cre-EBD). We demonstrate that recombination can be efficiently dissociated from toxicity by estrogen-dependent regulation of recombinase activity of the UASP-cre-EBD transgene products.
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