If we find a gene with unknown functions, we can knock out the gene to study its physiological function in vivo.
If we know the mutations in human genes are the causes of diseases, we can clone the gene and make the mutations the same as the human cases. Then we can create mouse models for human diseases.
In both cases, we hope to help researchers find ways to treat or prevent human diseases.
The NIDDK Knockout Core Facility was established in 1995 by Dr. Chuxia Deng. In the nearly two decades from its inception, we have been helping investigators generate more than 100 knockout/knockin mouse lines.
Since mouse gene targeting technology was invented more than 20 years ago, targeting strategies have been expanded to all different kinds of modifications, including point mutations, isoform deletions, mutant allele correction, knockin, chromosomal DNA insertion and deletion, and tissue-specific disruption combined with spatial and temporal regulation using Cre-loxp system.
The mouse models we generated will continue to have a major impact on studies of all phases of development, immunology, neurobiology, oncology, physiology, metabolism, and human diseases.
At the facility, we help NIDDK researchers and collaborating scientists to:
- make targeting constructs;
- culture embryonic stem (ES) cells;
- carry out transfection and identify targeted clones;
- carry out microinjection to create new mouse lines;
- mate the chimeras to obtain germline transmission; and
- answer any questions related to gene targeting.
I perform microinjection and microsurgery by injecting ES cells into blastocysts, and then transplanting the embryo to the foster mother to develop knockout mice. I specialize in gene targeting and aggregation activities, which include using mouse embryo aggregates with embryos or ES cells to create a new embryo. I also conduct partial liver hepatectomies and ovary transplantation and oophorectomy.