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This study describes the derivation of two new lines of transgenic mice that express Cre recombinase under the control of tyrosinase transcriptional elements. To determine the suitability of the Tyrosinase-Cre transgene for tissue-specific gene ablation studies, a fate map of Cre expression domains was determined using the Z/AP reporter strain. It was shown that Cre-expressing cells contribute to a wide array of neural crest and neuroepithelial-derived lineages. The melanocytes of the harderian gland and eye choroid, sympathetic cephalic ganglia, leptomeninges of the telencephalon, as well as cranial nerves (V), (VII), and (IX) are derived either fully or partly from Cre-expressing cephalic crest. The cells contributing to the cranial nerves were the first to exhibit Cre expression at E10.5 as they were migrating into the branchial arches. The melanocytes, chromaffin cells of the adrenal medulla, and dorsal root ganglia are derived from trunk neural crest that either express Cre or were derived from Cre-expressing precursors. An array of brain tissue including the basal forebrain, hippocampus, olfactory bulb, and the granule cell layer of the lateral cerebellum, as well as the retinal pigmented epithelium and glia of the optic nerve originate from Cre-expressing neuroepithelial cells.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





131 - 138


Animals, Brain, Epithelial Cells, Female, Gene Deletion, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Genes, Reporter, Integrases, Male, Mice, Mice, Transgenic, Monophenol Monooxygenase, Nervous System, Neural Crest, Viral Proteins