Generation of an inducible colon-specific Cre enzyme mouse line for colon cancer research

Paul W. Tetteh, Kai Kretzschmar, Harry Begthel, Maaike Van Den Born, Jeroen Korving, Folkert Morsink, Henner Farin, Johan H. Van Es, G. Johan A Offerhaus, Hans Clevers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Current mouse models for colorectal cancer often differ significantly from human colon cancer, being largely restricted to the small intestine. Here, we aim to develop a colon-specific inducible mouse model that can faithfully recapitulate human colon cancer initiation and progression. Carbonic anhydrase I (Car1) is a gene expressed uniquely in colonic epithelial cells. We generated a colon-specific inducible Car1CreER knock-in (KI) mouse with broad Cre activity in epithelial cells of the proximal colon and cecum. Deletion of the tumor suppressor gene Apc using the Car1CreER KI caused tumor formation in the cecum but did not yield adenomas in the proximal colon. Mutation of both Apc and Kras yielded microadenomas in both the cecum and the proximal colon, which progressed to macroadenomas with significant morbidity. Aggressive carcinomas with some invasion into lymph nodes developed upon combined induction of oncogenic mutations of Apc, Kras, p53, and Smad4. Importantly, no adenomas were observed in the small intestine. Additionally, we observed tumors from differentiated Car1-expressing cells with Apc/Kras mutations, suggesting that a top-down model of intestinal tumorigenesis can occur with multiple mutations. Our results establish the Car1CreER KI as a valuable mouse model to study colon-specific tumorigenesis and metastasis as well as cancer-cell-of-origin questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11859-11864
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 18 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Car1
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Differentiated epithelial cells
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Mouse model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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