Efficient CD4Cre-Mediated Conditional KRas Expression in Alveolar Macrophages and Alveolar Epithelial Cells Causes Fatal Hyperproliferative Pneumonitis.
The CD4Cre transgenic model has been widely used for T cell-specific gene manipulation. We report unexpected highly efficient Cre-mediated recombination in alveolar macrophages (AMFs), bronchial epithelial cells (BECs), and alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) in this strain of mice. Different from CD4 T cells, AMFs, AECs, and BECs do not express detectable Cre protein, suggesting that Cre protein is either very transiently expressed in these cells or only expressed in their precursors. Mice carrying a conditional constitutively active KRas (caKRas) allele and the CD4Cre transgene contain not only hyperactivated T cells but also develop severe AMF accumulation, AEC and BEC hyperplasia, and adenomas in the lung, leading to early lethality correlated with caKRas expression in these cells. We propose that caKRas-CD4Cre mice represent, to our knowledge, a novel model of proliferative pneumonitis involving macrophages and epithelial cells and that the CD4Cre model may offer unique usefulness for studying gene functions simultaneously in multilineages in the lung. Our observations, additionally, suggest that caution in data interpretation is warranted when using the CD4Cre transgenic model for T cell-specific gene manipulation, particularly when lung pathophysiological status is being examined.
Chen, P; Wang, S; Janardhan, KS; Zemans, RL; Deng, W; Karmaus, P; Shen, S; Sunday, M; Que, LG; Fessler, MB; Zhong, X-P
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