Osx-Cre targets multiple cell types besides osteoblast lineage in postnatal mice

Jianquan Chen, Yu Shi, Jenna Regan, Kannan Karuppaiah, David M. Ornitz, Fanxin Long

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128 Scopus citations


Osterix (Osx or Sp7) is a zinc-finger-family transcriptional factor essential for osteoblast differentiation in mammals. The Osx-Cre mouse line (also known as Osx1-GFP::Cre) expresses GFP::Cre fusion protein from a BAC transgene containing the Osx regulatory sequence. The mouse strain was initially characterized during embryogenesis, and found to target mainly osteoblast-lineage cells. Because the strain has been increasingly used in postnatal studies, it is important to evaluate its targeting specificity in mice after birth. By crossing the Osx-Cre mouse with the R26-mT/mG reporter line and analyzing the progenies at two months of age, we find that Osx-Cre targets not only osteoblasts, osteocytes and hypertrophic chondrocytes as expected, but also stromal cells, adipocytes and perivascular cells in the bone marrow. The targeting of adipocytes and perivascular cells appears to be specific to those residing within the bone marrow, as the same cell types elsewhere are not targeted. Beyond the skeleton, Osx-Cre also targets the olfactory glomerular cells, and a subset of the gastric and intestinal epithelium. Thus, potential contributions from the non-osteoblast-lineage cells should be considered when Osx-Cre is used to study gene functions in postnatal mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere85161
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 15 2014


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