Tetracycline-inducible system for regulation of skeletal muscle-specific gene expression in transgenic mice

Mischala A. Grill, Mark A. Bales, Amber N. Fought, Kristopher C. Rosburg, Stephanie J. Munger, Parker B. Antin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Tightly regulated control of over-expression is often necessary to study one aspect or time point of gene function and, in transgenesis, may help to avoid lethal effects and complications caused by ubiquitous over-expression. We have utilized the benefits of an optimized tet-on system and a modified muscle creatine kinase (MCK) promoter to generate a skeletal muscle-specific, doxycycline (Dox) controlled over-expression system in transgenic mice. A DNA construct was generated in which the codon optimized reverse tetracycline transactivator (rtTA) was placed under control of a skeletal muscle-specific version of the mouse MCK promoter. Transgenic mice containing this construct expressed rtTA almost exclusively in skeletal muscles. These mice were crossed to a second transgenic line containing a bi-directional promoter centered on a tet responder element driving both a luciferase reporter gene and a tagged gene of interest; in this case the calpain inhibitor calpastatin. Compound hemizygous mice showed high level, Dox dependent muscle-specific luciferase activity often exceeding 10,000-fold over non-muscle tissues of the same mouse. Western and immunocytochemical analysis demonstrated similar Dox dependent muscle-specific induction of the tagged calpastatin protein. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness and flexibility of the tet-on system to provide a tightly regulated over-expression system in adult skeletal muscle. The MCKrtTA transgenic lines can be combined with other transgenic responder lines for skeletal muscle-specific over-expression of any target gene of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalTransgenic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2003


  • Doxycycline
  • Muscle creatine kinase
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Tet-on
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Genetics


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