To direct Cre-mediated recombination to differentiated medium-size spiny neurons (MSNs) of the striatum, we generated transgenic mice that express Cre recombinase under the regulation of DARPP-32 genomic fragments. In this reported line, recombination of an R26R reporter allele occurred postnatally in the majority of medium-size spiny neurons of the dorsal and ventral striatum (caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens/ olfactory tubercle), as well as in the piriform cortex and choroid plexus. Although regulatory fragments were selected to target MSNs, low levels of Cre-recombinase expression, as detected by β-galactosidase activity from the R26R reporter gene, were also apparent in widely dispersed areas or cells of the forebrain and hindbrain. These included the primary and secondary motor cortex, and association cortex, as well as in the olfactory bulb and cerebellar Purkinje cells. Notably, expression in these regions was well below that of endogenous DARPP-32. Analysis of colocalization of β-galactosidase, as detected either by histochemistry or immunocytochemistry, and DARPP-32 revealed double-labeling in almost all DARPP-32-expressing MSNs in the postnatal striatum, but not in extrastriatal regions. The DARPP-32Cre transgenic mouse line thus provides a useful tool to specifically express and/or inactivate genes in mature MSNs of the striatum.
- Cre recombinase
- Medium-size spiny neurons