Knockout (KO) mice lacking steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1, officially designated Nr5a1) have a complex phenotype that includes adrenal and gonadal agenesis, impaired function of pituitary gonadotropes, and abnormalities of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus (VMH). To develop a lineage marker for cells that express SF-1, we used bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenesis. A BAC fragment containing 50 kb of the mouse Nr5a1 gene was placed upstream of the coding sequence for enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and used to generate SF-1/eGFP transgenic mice. These sequences directed eGFP expression to multiple cell lineages that express SF-1, including steroidogenic cells of the adrenal cortex, testes, and ovaries, VMH neurons, and reticuloendothelial cells of the spleen. Despite the essential role of SF-1 in gonadotropes, eGFP was not expressed in the anterior pituitary. These studies show that 50 kb of the mouse Nr5a1 gene can target transgenic expression to multiple cell lineages that normally express SF-1. The SF-1/eGFP transgene provides a valuable tool to expand our understanding of the actions of SF-1 in endocrine development and function.
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