Lineage Tracing in the Mammary Gland Using Cre/lox Technology and Fluorescent Reporter Alleles

  • Renée van AmerongenEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1293)


Lineage tracing using Cre/lox technology has become a well-established technique to study the contribution of different (stem) cell populations to organ development and function. When used in the mammary gland, it forms a valuable addition to the already existing experimental toolbox and an important alternative to other readouts measuring stem cell potential, such as the fat pad transplantation assay.

Here I describe how to set up and analyze an in vivo lineage tracing experiment using tamoxifen-inducible Cre/lox technology, highlighting the specific challenges that the investigator faces when employing this method and interpreting the results in the mammary gland.

Key words

Lineage tracing Mammary gland stem cells Tamoxifen Whole mount Confocal microscopy 



RvA is supported by the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF cancer research career award, 2013-6057) and by a MacGillavry fellowship from the University of Amsterdam. I thank my ex-colleagues and Roel Nusse at Stanford University (USA) for discussions and feedback during the experimental stages of this work, Lauran Oomen and Lenny Brocks at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) for help with the Leica SP5, Ronald Breedijk, and Erik Manders for help with analyzing samples on the Nikon A1, Ji-Ying Song for the image depicted in Fig. 1b and Amber Zeeman for comments on the manuscript and the image depicted in Fig. 1a.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media LLC New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Molecular Cytology, Swammerdam Institute for Life SciencesUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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