• Gfi1;
  • Cre recombinase;
  • inner ear;
  • hair cells


Gfi1 encodes a zinc-finger transcription factor essential for the development and maintenance of haematopoiesis and the inner ear. In mouse inner ear, Gfi1 expression is confined to hair cells during development and in adulthood. To construct a genetic tool for inner ear hair cell-specific gene deletion, we generated a Gfi1-Cre mouse line by knocking-in Cre coding sequences into the Gfi1 locus and inactivating the endogenous Gfi1. The specificity and efficiency of Gfi1-Cre recombinase-mediated recombination in the developing inner ear was revealed through the expression of the conditional R26R-lacZ reporter gene. The onset of lacZ expression in the Gfi1Cre/+ inner ear was first detected at E13.5 in the vestibule and at E15.5 in the cochlea, coinciding with the generation of hair cells. Throughout inner ear development, lacZ expression was detected only in hair cells. Thus, Gfi1-Cre knock-in mouse line provides a useful tool for gene manipulations specifically in inner ear hair cells. genesis 48:400–406, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.