Cell-specific Cre strains for genetic manipulation in salivary glands

Eri O. Maruyama, Marit H. Aure, Xiaoling Xie, Yvonne Myal, Lin Gan, Catherine E. Ovitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The secretory acinar cells of the salivary gland are essential for saliva secretion, but are also the cell type preferentially lost following radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. The source of replacement acinar cells is currently a matter of debate. There is evidence for the presence of adult stem cells located within specific ductal regions of the salivary glands, but our laboratory recently demonstrated that differentiated acinar cells are maintained without significant stem cell contribution. To enable further investigation of salivary gland cell lineages and their origins, we generated three cell-specific Cre driver mouse strains. For genetic manipulation in acinar cells, an inducible Cre recombinase (Cre-ER) was targeted to the prolactin-induced protein (Pip) gene locus. Targeting of the Dcpp1 gene, encoding demilune cell and parotid protein, labels intercalated duct cells, a putative site of salivary gland stem cells, and serous demilune cells of the sublingual gland. Duct cell-specific Cre expression was attempted by targeting the inducible Cre to the Tcfcp2l1 gene locus. Using the R26Tomato Red reporter mouse, we demonstrate that these strains direct inducible, cellspecific expression. Genetic tracing of acinar cells using PipGCE supports the recent finding that differentiated acinar cells clonally expand. Moreover, tracing of intercalated duct cells expressing DcppGCE confirms evidence of duct cell proliferation, but further analysis is required to establish that renewal of secretory acinar cells is dependent on stem cells within these ducts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0146711
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 11 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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