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Cre recombinase induces DNA damage and tetraploidy in the absence of LoxP sites

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Janbandhu,  Vaibhao C
Fässler, Reinhard / Molecular Medicine, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Moik,  Daniel
Fässler, Reinhard / Molecular Medicine, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Fässler,  Reinhard
Fässler, Reinhard / Molecular Medicine, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Janbandhu, V. C., Moik, D., & Fässler, R. (2014). Cre recombinase induces DNA damage and tetraploidy in the absence of LoxP sites. CELL CYCLE, 13(3), 462-470. doi:10.4161/cc.27271.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-0D1C-2
Abstract
The spatiotemporal manipulations of gene expression by the Cre recombinase (Cre) of bacteriophage P1 has become an essential asset to understanding mammalian genetics. Accumulating evidence suggests that Cre activity can, in addition to excising targeted loxP sites, induce cytotoxic effects, including abnormal cell cycle progression, genomic instability, and apoptosis, which can accelerate cancer progression. It is speculated that these defects are caused by Cre-induced DNA damage at off-target sites. Here we report the formation of tetraploid keratinocytes in the epidermis of keratin 5 and/or keratin 14 promoter-driven Cre (KRT5- and KRT14-Cre) expressing mouse skin. Biochemical analyses and flow cytometry demonstrated that Cre expression also induces DNA damage, genomic instability, and tetraploidy in HCT116 cells, and live-cell imaging revealed an extension of the G(2) cell cycle phase followed by defective or skipping of mitosis as cause for the tetraploidy. Since tetraploidy eventually leads to aneuploidy, a hallmark of cancer, our findings highlight the importance of distinguishing non-specific cytopathic effects from specific Cre/loxP-driven genetic manipulations when using Cre-mediated gene deletions.