To study gene function in neural progenitors and radial glia of the retina and hypothalamus, we developed a Rax-CreERT2 mouse line in which a tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase is inserted into the endogenous Rax locus. By crossing Rax-CreERT2 with the Cre-dependent Ai9 reporter line, we demonstrate that tamoxifen-induced Cre activity recapitulates the endogenous Rax mRNA expression pattern. During embryonic development, Cre recombinase activity in Rax-CreERT2 is confined to retinal and hypothalamic progenitor cells, as well as progenitor cells of the posterior pituitary. At postnatal time points, selective Cre recombinase activity is seen in radial glial-like cell types in these organs - specifically Müller glia and tanycytes - as well as pituicytes. We anticipate that this line will prove useful for cell lineage analysis and investigation of gene function in the developing and mature retina, hypothalamus and pituitary.
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