Constitutive depletion of p21-activated kinase 4 (PAK4) in the mouse causes embryonic lethality associated with heart and brain defects. Given that conventional gene depletion of PAK1 or PAK3 caused functional deficits in the mouse pancreas, while gene depletion of PAK5 or PAK6 did not, we asked if PAK4 might have a functional role in pancreas development. We therefore introduced conditional, Pdx1-Cre-mediated, pancreatic PAK4 gene depletion in the mouse, verified by loss of PAK4 protein expression in the pancreas. PAK4 knock-out (KO) mice were born at Mendelian ratios in both genders. Further, morphological and immunohistochemical examinations and quantifications indicated that exocrine, endocrine and ductal compartments retained the normal proportions and distributions upon PAK4 gene depletion. In addition, body weight records and a glucose tolerance test revealed no differences between WT and PAK4 KO mice. Together, this suggests that PAK4 is dispensable for mouse pancreas development. This will facilitate future use of our Pdx1-Cre-driven conditional PAK4 KO mouse model for testing in vivo potential functions of PAK4 in pancreatic disease models such as for pancreatitis and different pancreatic cancer forms.
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