Proximal Lck Promoter-Driven Cre Function Is Limited in Neonatal and Ineffective in Adult γδ T Cell Development.

Affiliation

Centre for Biological Signalling Studies BIOSS, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany; [Email] [Email]

Abstract

During T cell development, Lck gene expression is temporally controlled by its proximal and distal promoters. The pLckCre transgenic mouse available from The Jackson Laboratory, in which the proximal promoter of Lck drives Cre expression, is a commonly used Cre driver line to recombine genes flanked by loxP sites in T cells. pLckCre drives recombination early in thymocyte development and is frequently used to delete genes in αβ and γδ T cells. We found that pLckCre failed to efficiently delete floxed genes in γδ T cells in contrast to a complete deletion in conventional as well as unconventional αβ T cells. Mechanistically, γδ T cells inefficiently transcribed the endogenous proximal Lck promoter compared with αβ T cells during adult thymic development. A small population of γδ T cells that had activated pLckCre was detected, many of which were located in nonlymphoid organs as well as precommitted IL-17- or IFN-γ-producing γδ T effector cells. In newborn thymi, both pLckCre and endogenous Lck proximal promoter expression were substantially enhanced, giving rise to an elevated fraction of γδ T cells with recombined floxed genes that were increased in unique γδ T subsets, such as the IL-17-producing γδ T cells. Our data point out striking differences in Lck transcription between perinatal and adult γδ T cell development. Taken together, the data presented in this study shed new light on γδ T cell development and stimulate a reanalysis of data generated using the pLckCre transgenic mice.

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