The zinc finger transcription factor GATA6 is believed to have important roles in the development of several organs including the liver, gastrointestinal tract and heart. However, analyses of the contribution of GATA6 toward organogenesis have been hampered because Gata6-/- mice fail to develop beyond gastrulation due to defects in extraembryonic endoderm function. We have therefore generated a mouse line harbouring a conditional loss-of-function allele of Gata6 using Cre/loxP technology. LoxP elements were introduced into introns flanking exon 2 of the Gata6 gene by homologous recombination in ES cells. Mice containing this altered allele were bred to homozygosity and were found to be viable and fertile. To assess the functional integrity of the loxP sites and to confirm that we had generated a Gata6 loss-of-function allele, we bred Gata6 'floxed' mice to EIIa-Cre mice in which Cre is ubiquitously expressed, and to Villin-Cre mice that express Cre in the epithelial cells of the intestine. We conclude that we have generated a line of mice in which GATA6 activity can be ablated in a cell type specific manner by expression of Cre recombinase. This line of mice can be used to establish the role of GATA6 in regulating embryonic development and various aspects of mammalian physiology.
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