UCLA researchers in the Department of Physiology have developed a method of genetically silencing calcium signaling in cells and organisms for use in studying aberrant calcium signaling in disease.
Current genetic silencing protocols have flaws in their selectivity and extensiveness. For example, a key necessity to studying astrocytes in vivo is the ability to manipulate them selectively without concomitantly impacting other cells. From this perspective, much attention has focused on genetic methods to selectively target astrocytes. Cell-type-specific expression of Cre recombinase (Cre) is frequently used to achieve gene expression and deletion by exploiting the Cre-loxP system. However, existing mouse lines expressing Cre under the control of astrocyte promoters are neither selective for astrocytes nor pan-astrocytic.
Researchers at UCLA have modified the traditional Cre-loxP system to include an astrocyte-specific locus to specifically and extensively silence specific genes of interest pertaining to calcium regulation. In doing so, the mouse model allows for specific, regulated, and pas-astrocytic gene expression under very specific conditions. This platform can be expanded to other gene loci and cell types.
Calcium, gene silencing, animal model, screening, research tool, astrocyte, signaling, Cre-loxP, Cre recombinase