Achieving tight control of a photoactivatable Cre recombinase gene switch: new design strategies and functional characterization in mammalian cells and rodent

Kyle Meador, Christina L. Wysoczynski, Aaron J. Norris, Jason Aoto, Michael R. Bruchas, Chandra L. Tucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

A common mechanism for inducibly controlling protein function relies on reconstitution of split protein fragments using chemical or light-induced dimerization domains. A protein is split into fragments that are inactive on their own, but can be reconstituted after dimerization. As many split proteins retain affinity for their complementary half, maintaining low activity in the absence of an inducer remains a challenge. Here, we systematically explore methods to achieve tight regulation of inducible proteins that are effective despite variation in protein expression level. We characterize a previously developed split Cre recombinase (PA-Cre2.0) that is reconstituted upon light-induced CRY2-CIB1 dimerization, in cultured cells and in vivo in rodent brain. In culture, PA-Cre2.0 shows low background and high induced activity over a wide range of expression levels, while in vivo the system also shows low background and sensitive response to brief light inputs. The consistent activity stems from fragment compartmentalization that shifts localization toward the cytosol. Extending this work, we exploit nuclear compartmentalization to generate light-and-chemical regulated versions of Cre recombinase. This work demonstrates in vivo functionality of PA-Cre2.0, describes new approaches to achieve tight inducible control of Cre DNA recombinase, and provides general guidelines for further engineering and application of split protein fragments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e97
JournalNucleic acids research
Volume47
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 26 2019

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