Tissue-specific silencing of genes may be used for genetic engineering in mice and has possible therapeutic applications in humans. Current strategies in mice rely on Cre/loxP technology requiring the generation of multiple transgenic lines and breeding strategies. Here, we describe the selective silencing of CD18, a leukocyte-specific integrin in neutrophils using a micro RNA (miRNA) strategy that requires the generation of one transgenic line. CD18-specific miRNA hairpin driven by the myeloid specific human MRP8 promoter resulted in the genera-tion of transgenic lines with 75% to 95% reduction in CD18 protein levels in neutrophils and monocytes. Minimal decreases in T cells and a partial diminution in macrophages were observed. Neutrophil CD18 silencing resulted in neutrophilia, splenomegaly, and significant defects in neutrophil trafficking with the degree of alterations correlating with the extent of CD18 silencing. Thus, our data demonstrate the utility of using miRNA approaches to silence genes in neutrophils, which are terminally differentiated cells with a short half-life that largely precludes their genetic manipulation in vitro. Furthermore, the mouse models provide a valuable tool to examine the contribution of CD18 on neutrophils to leukocyte adhesion deficiency type I (LAD-I), a complex inherited disorder in which reduced or absent CD18 expression in multiple leukocyte subsets leads to impaired innate and adaptive immune responses.
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