Cre-lox neurogenetics: 20 years of versatile applications in brain research and counting...

Frontiers in Genetics. 2016;7 DOI 10.3389/fgene.2016.00019


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Frontiers in Genetics

ISSN: 1664-8021 (Online)

Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.

LCC Subject Category: Science: Biology (General): Genetics

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML



Joe Z Tsien (Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University)


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 14 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Defining and manipulating specific neurons in the brain have garnered enormous interest in recent years, because such an approach is now recognized as crucial for deepening our understanding of how the brain works. When I started out to explore the Cre-loxP recombination for brain research in early 1990s, it was written off as a dead-end project by a young fool. Yet over the past 20 years, Cre-lox recombination-mediated neurogenetics has emerged as one of the most powerful and versatile technology platforms for cell-specific gene knockouts, transgenic overexpression, Brainbow imaging, neural pathway tracing with retrovirus and CLARITY, chemical genetics, and optogenetics. Its popularity and greater utility in neuroscience research is also largely thanks to the NIH’s bold Blueprint for Neuroscience Research Initiative to launch several Cre-driver resource projects, as well as individual laboratories and private research organizations. With newly-discovered, genetically-encoded molecules that are capable of responding to sonar and magnetic stimulation, for sonogenetics or magnetogenetics, respectively, or detecting rapid voltage changes in neurons, Cre-lox neurogenetics will continue to aid brain research for years to come.