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Chemokine CX3C motif receptor 1 (CX3CR1) promoter-dependent gene expression in microglia

A microglia-specific expression system could help study the role of such cells in various CNS diseases. Studying microglia is challenging because of the cells' lack of distinguishing genetic markers. Transient expression of a tamoxifen-activated Cre recombinase under control of the CX3CR1 promoter, which is active in brain microglia, was used to induce permanent gene inactivation in long-lived microglia cells in the brain. In a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS), microglial inactivation of MAP kinase kinase kinase 7 (Map3k7; Tak1) decreased disease severity compared with that seen in wild-type controls or neuroectoderm-specific knockout mice. Next steps could include using the model to identify microglia-specific drug targets.

SciBX 6(41); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1170
Published online Oct. 24, 2013

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Goldmann, T. et al. Nat. Neurosci.; published online Sept. 29, 2013;
Contact: Marco Prinz, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Contact: Steffen Jung, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel