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The Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas (GENSAT) is a project to create transgenic mouse lines expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporters or DNA recombinases in specific neural and glial cell populations. In each mouse line, expression of the reporter or recombinase is controlled by promoter elements derived from a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) containing a specific gene of interest, in order to mimic expression patterns of that gene.

Expression of the Ppp1-r17 protein in postnatal day 7 mouse cerebellum.

To date, approximately 1,300 transgenic BAC-GFP reporter mouse lines have been generated, and many have proven to be extremely valuable in experiments requiring identification of specific cell populations and details of cellular morphology. 

Over 160 fully characterized BAC-Cre driver lines have been created so far, targeting selected neuronal or glial populations in the brain and spinal cord. 

The BAC-GFP expression data, as well as in situ hybridization data, are searchable online through the St. Jude Brain Gene Expression Map. About 1,050 BAC-EGFP mouse lines and 145 BAC-Cre lines have been placed in MMRRCs since the beginning of the project and are available for a small processing fee.  Researchers can nominate genes to GENSAT, and register to receive notice when specific BAC-Cre recombinase driver lines become available.

Blueprint funding supports the archiving, cryopreservation and management of these mouse lines, as well as a project to analyze gene expression in the mouse peripheral nervous system.

For examples of how GENSAT mice have been used in research, please read: