Emx1-specific expression of foreign genes using “knock-in” approach

Xiao Lu Jin, Huailian Guo, Chengjian Mao, Norman Atkins, Hong Wang, Prachee Pradeep Avasthi, Yen Te Tu, Yuqing Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Emx1 is a mouse homologue of the Drosophila homeobox gene empty spiracles. Its expression is limited to the neurons in developing and adult cerebral cortex and hippocampus. Because of the highly restricted expression pattern of the Emx1 gene, it would be quite desirable to characterize the promoter of the Emx1 for directing foreign gene expression in the transgenic mouse. We report here that we have achieved the Emx1-specific expression in transgenic mice by inserting the lacZ reporter and cre genes directly into the exon 1 of the Emx1 gene using embryonic stem (ES) cell technology. The distribution of the β-galactosidase activity in the transgenic mice was consistent with the published results obtained using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that Cre protein was present in the cerebral cortex of the transgenic mice and was able to mediate loxP-specific recombination in vitro. The creation of this line of cre transgenic mice, and the demonstration that the insertion site located in the exon 1 of the Emx1 gene could render foreign genes a specific expression pattern restricted to the developing and adult cerebral cortex and hippocampus, should be conducive to further studies of the effect of a gene mutation or overexpression upon the development and plasticity of cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-982
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 21 2000


  • Amygdala
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Cre/loxP
  • Developing limbs
  • Emx1
  • Hippocampus
  • Knock-in
  • Olfactory bulbs
  • Transgenic mice
  • β-galactosidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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