The Cre-LoxP conditional knockout strategy has been used extensively to study gene function in a specific cell-type. In this study, the authors tried to engineer mice in which the Dbc1 gene is conditionally knocked out in Treg cells. Unexpectedly, the conditional Dbc1 allele was completely deleted with a low frequency in some Foxp3YFP-Cre mice harboring floxed Dbc1 allele under specific settings. It was found that the germline recombination of floxed Dbc1 allele, which caused Dbc1 knock out mice, occurred in the male Foxp3YFP-Cre mice harboring floxed Dbc1 allele. Even though the authors documented that Foxp3 is expressed in the testis, the germline recombination was not caused by the germline expression of Cre, which was driven by the Foxp3 promoter. The germline recombination may be caused by the unspecific expression of Cre recombinase in the fetus, in which the floxed Dbc1 allele of some stem cells with development potential to germ cells may be recombined. Additionally, this study found that the floxed Dbc1 allele was recombined in non-T cells of some Foxp3CreDbc1fl mice, which need to be characterized. Our results also suggest that using male mice with a low frequency of recombined gene allele can reduce the risk of having full knock out mice.
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