Indexed on: 08 Aug '14Published on: 08 Aug '14Published in: PloS one
Neurons producing serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) constitute one of the most widely distributed neuronal networks in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS) and exhibit a profuse innervation throughout the CNS already at early stages of development. Serotonergic neuron specification is controlled by a combination of secreted molecules and transcription factors such as Shh, Fgf4/8, Nkx2.2, Lmx1b and Pet1. In the mouse, Pet1 mRNA expression appears between 10 and 11 days post coitum (dpc) in serotonergic post-mitotic precursors and persists in serotonergic neurons up to adulthood, where it promotes the expression of genes defining the mature serotonergic phenotype such as tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (Tph2) and serotonin transporter (SERT). Hence, the generation of genetic tools based on Pet1 specific expression represents a valuable approach to study the development and function of the serotonergic system. Here, we report the generation of a Pet1(210)-Cre transgenic mouse line in which the Cre recombinase is expressed under the control of a 210 kb fragment from the Pet1 genetic locus to ensure a reliable and faithful control of somatic recombination in Pet1 cell lineage. Besides Cre-mediated recombination accurately occurred in the serotonergic system as expected and according to previous studies, Pet1(210)-Cre transgenic mouse line allowed us to identify novel, so far uncharacterized, Pet1 expression domains. Indeed, we showed that in the raphe Pet1 is expressed also in a non-serotonergic neuronal population intermingled with Tph2-expressing cells and mostly localized in the B8 and B9 nuclei. Moreover, we detected Cre-mediated recombination also in the developing pancreas and in the ureteric bud derivatives of the kidney, where it reflected a specific Pet1 expression. Thus, Pet1(210)-Cre transgenic mouse line faithfully drives Cre-mediated recombination in all Pet1 expression domains representing a valuable tool to genetically manipulate serotonergic and non-serotonergic Pet1 cell lineages.