Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25142413
Eur. J. Immunol. 2014 Nov;44(11):3380-91
To study gene functions specifically in NKp46+ cells we developed novel Cre mice allowing for conditional gene targeting in cells expressing Ncr1 (encoding NKp46). We generated transgenic Ncr1(greenCre) mice carrying an EGFPcre fusion under the control of a proximal Ncr1 promoter that faithfully directed EGFPcre expression to NKp46+ cells from lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues. This approach allowed for direct detection of Cre-expressing NKp46+ cells via their GFP signature by flow cytometry and histology. Cre was functional as evidenced by the NKp46+ cell-specific expression of RFP in Ncr1(greenCre) Rosa-dtRFP reporter mice. We generated Ncr1(greenCre) Il2rg(fl/fl) mice that lack NKp46+ cells in an otherwise intact hematopoietic environment. Il2rg encodes the common gamma chain (γc ), which is an essential receptor subunit for cytokines (IL-2, -4, -7, -9, -15, and -21) that stimulate lymphocyte development and function. In Ncr1(greenCre) Il2rg(fl/fl) mice, NK cells are severely reduced and the few remaining NKp46+ cells escaping γc deletion failed to express GFP. Using this new NK-cell-deficient model, we demonstrate that the homeostasis of NKp46+ cells from all tissues (including the recently described intraepithelial ILC1 subset) requires Il2rg. Finally, Ncr1(greenCre) Il2rg(fl/fl) mice are unable to reject B16 lung metastases demonstrating the essential role of NKp46+ cells in antimelanoma immune responses.