Targeting CreERT2 expression to keratin 8-expressing murine simple epithelia using bacterial artificial chromosome transgenesis
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Keratin 8 (K8) is a type II keratin that is associated with the type I keratins K18 or K19 in single layered epithelia. We generated a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mouse line that expresses the tamoxifen inducible CreERT2 inserted into the endogenous murine K8 gene. The transgenic mouse line contains two copies of the BAC transgene. To determine the expression specificity and inducibility of CreERT2, the K8–CreERT2 mice were bred with a Gt(ROSA26)ACTB–tdTomato–EGFP fluorescent protein-based reporter transgenic mouse line. We demonstrated that CreERT2 and the endogenous K8 gene share the same patterns of expression and that the enzymatic activity of CreERT2 can be efficiently induced by tamoxifen in all K8-expressing tissues. This mouse line will be useful for studying gene function in development and homeostasis of simple epithelia, and investigating both tissue lineage hierarchy and the identity of the cells of origin for epithelial cancers.