Nerves of the peripheral nervous system contain two classes of Schwann cells: myelinating Schwann cells that ensheath large caliber axons and generate the myelin sheath, and Remak Schwann cells that surround smaller axons and do not myelinate. While tools exist for genetic targeting of Schwann cell precursors and myelinating Schwann cells, such reagents have been challenging to generate specifically for the Remak population, in part because many of the genes that mark this population in maturity are also robustly expressed in Schwann cell precursors. To circumvent this challenge, we utilized BAC transgenesis to generate a mouse line expressing a tamoxifen-inducible Cre under the control of a Remak-expressed gene promoter (Egr1). However, as Egr1 is also an activity dependent gene expressed by some neurons, we flanked this Cre by flippase (Flpe) recognition sites, and coinjected a BAC expressing Flpe under control of a pan-neuronal Snap25 promoter to excise the Cre transgene from these neuronal cells. Genotyping and inheritance demonstrate that the two BACs co-integrated into a single locus, facilitating maintenance of the line. Anatomical studies following a cross to a reporter line show sparse tamoxifen-dependent recombination in Remak Schwann cells within the mature sciatic nerve. However, depletion of neuronal Cre activity by Flpe is partial, with some neurons and astrocytes also showing evidence of Cre reporter activity in the central nervous system. Thus, this mouse line will be useful in mosaic loss-of-function studies, lineage tracing studies following injury, live cell imaging studies, or other experiments benefiting from sparse labeling.
- Nervous system