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© 2015 Frey, Kim.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original author and source are credited. Paternally Expressed Gene 3 (Peg3) is an imprinted gene that controls milk letdown and maternal-caring behaviors. In this study, a conditional knockout allele has been developed in Mus musculus to further characterize these known functions of Peg3 in a tissue-specific manner. The mutant line was first crossed with a germline Cre. The progeny of this cross displayed growth retardation phenotypes. This is consistent with those seen in the previous mutant lines of Peg3, confirming the usefulness of the new mutant allele. The mutant line was subsequently crossed individually with MMTV- and Nkx2.1-Cre lines to test Peg3's roles in the mammary gland and hypothalamus, respectively. According to the results, the milk letdown process was impaired in the nursing females with the Peg3 mutation in the mammary gland, but not in the hypothalamus. This suggests that Peg3's roles in the milk letdown process are more critical in the mammary gland than in the hypothalamus. In contrast, one of the maternal-caring behaviors, nest-building, was interrupted in the females with the mutation in both MMTV- and Nkx2.1-driven lines. Overall, this is the first study to introduce a conditional knockout allele of Peg3 and to further dissect its contribution to mammalian reproduction in a tissue-specific manner.

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