Retrovirus-mediated gene delivery into male germ line stem cells

FEBS Letters
Makoto C NaganoRalph L Brinster


The male germ line stem cell is the only cell type in the adult that can contribute genes to the next generation and is characterized by postnatal proliferation. It has not been determined whether this cell population can be used to deliberately introduce genetic modification into the germ line to generate transgenic animals or whether human somatic cell gene therapy has the potential to accidentally introduce permanent genetic changes into a patient's germ line. Here we report that several techniques can be used to achieve both in vitro and in vivo gene transfer into mouse male germ line stem cells using a retroviral vector. Expression of a retrovirally delivered reporter lacZ transgene in male germ line stem cells and differentiated germ cells persisted in the testis for more than 6 months. At least one in 300 stem cells could be infected. The experiments demonstrate a system to introduce genes directly into the male germ line and also provide a method to address the potential of human somatic cell gene therapy DNA constructs to enter a patient's germ line.


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