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DOI: 10.3390/cells12162096; PMCID: PMC10453067


The aromatase-Cre recombinase (Cyp19-Cre) transgenic mouse model has been extensively used for placenta-specific gene inactivation. In a pilot study, we observed unexpected phenotypes using this mouse strain, which prompted an extensive characterization of Cyp19-Cre placental phenotypes using ROSAmT/mG transgenic reporter mice. The two strains were mated to generate bi-transgenic Cyp19-Cre;ROSAmT/mG mice following a standard transgenic breeding scheme, and placental and fetal tissues were analyzed on embryonic day 17.5. Both maternal and paternal Cre inheritance were analyzed by mating the respective Cyp19-Cre and ROSAmT/mG males and females. The genotype results showed the expected percentage of Cyp19-Cre;ROSAmT/mG fetuses (73%) and Cre mRNA was expressed in all of the Cyp19-Cre placentas. However, surprisingly, only about 50% of the Cyp19-Cre;ROSAmT/mG placentas showed Cre-mediated recombinase activity as demonstrated by placental enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) expression. Further genetic excision analysis of the placentas revealed consistent results showing the absence of excision of the tdTomato in all of the Cyp19-Cre;ROSAmT/mG placentas lacking EGFP expression. Moreover, among the EGFP-expressing placentas, there was wide variability in recombination efficiency, even in placentas from the same litter, leading to a mosaic pattern of EGFP expression in different zones and cell types of the placentas. In addition, we observed a significantly higher percentage of Cre recombination activity in placentas with maternal Cre inheritance. Our results show frequent mosaicism, inconsistent recombination activity, and parent-of-origin effects in placentas from Cyp19-Cre;ROSAmT/mG mice, suggesting that tail-biopsy genotype results may not necessarily indicate the excision of floxed genes in Cyp19-Cre positive placentas. Thus, placenta-specific mutagenesis studies using the Cyp19-Cre model require extensive characterization and careful interpretation of the placental phenotypes for each floxed allele.

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Female; Pregnancy; Male; Mice; Animals; Mice, Transgenic; Rosa; Aromatase; Pilot Projects; Placenta; Plant Breeding; Mosaicism


Cre inactivation; Cyp19-Cre; placenta


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