Direct injection of foreign DNA into mouse testis as a possible in vivo gene transfer system via epididymal spermatozoa

Molecular Reproduction and Development
Masahiro SatoMinoru Kimura


We have attempted to transfect testicular spermatozoa with plasmid DNA by direct injection into testes to obtain transgenic animals [this technique was thus termed "testis-mediated gene transfer (TMGT)"]. When injected males were mated with superovulated females 2 and 3 days after injection, (i) high efficiencies (more than 50%) of gene transmission were achieved in the mid-gestational F0 fetuses, (ii) the copy number of plasmid DNA in the fetuses was estimated to be less than 1 copy per diploid cell, and (iii) overt gene expression was not found in these fetuses. These findings suggest the possibility that plasmid DNA introduced into a testis is rapidly transported to the epididymis and then incorporated by epididymal spermatozoa. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the mechanism of TMGT by introducing trypan blue (TB) or Hoechst 33342 directly into testis. We found that TB is transported to the ducts of the caput epididymis via rete testis within 1 min after testis injection, and TB reached the corpus and cauda epididymis within 2-4 days after injection. Staining of spermatozoa isolated from any portion of epididymis was observed 4 days after injection of a solution containing Hoechst 33342. Injection of enhanced green...Continue Reading


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