Comprehensive transcriptional profiling of glucose-sensing neurons is challenging because of low expression levels of glucokinase (Gck) and other key proteins that transduce a glucose signal. To overcome this, we generated and validated transgenic mice with a neuronal/endocrine-specific Gck promoter driving cre expression and mated them to mice with cre-dependent expression of an EGFP-tagged ribosomal protein construct (EEF1A1-LSL.EGFPL10) that can be used to map and profile cells. We found significant Gck expression in hypothalamic and limbic regions in cells that are activated following administration of glucose or 2-deoxyglucose. Transcriptional profiling from Gck-cre/EEF1A1-LSL.EGFPL10 mice enriched known and previously unknown glucose-sensing populations including neurons expressing growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH). Electrophysiological recordings show that hypoglycemia activates GHRH neurons, suggesting a mechanistic link between hypoglycemia and growth hormone release. These studies provide a means for mapping glucose-sensitive neurons and for generating transcriptional profiles from other cell types expressing cre in a cell-specific manner.
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Animals, Deoxyglucose, Gene Expression Profiling, Glucokinase, Glucose, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone, Hypoglycemia, Hypothalamus, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Transgenic, Neurons, Ribosomal Proteins