Tissue-specific and ectopic expression of genes introduced into transgenic mice by retroviruses

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Science  12 Dec 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4782, pp. 1409-1413
DOI: 10.1126/science.3024318


Recombinant retroviruses containing the complete genomic human beta globin gene (under the control of its own promoter) and the bacterial neomycin phosphotransferase gene (under the control of the normal or enhancerless viral promoter) were used to derive transgenic mouse strains by infection of preimplantation embryos. Expression of the beta globin gene in hematopoietic tissues was observed in all transgenic strains. In addition, one strain showed ectopic expression of beta globin in the same tissues that also expressed high levels of RNA from the viral promoter. It is likely that expression from the long terminal repeat (LTR), in contrast to expression from the internal promoter, is dependent on the site of integration. Thus, retroviral vectors can be used for tissue-specific expression of foreign genes in transgenic mice, as well as for the identification of loci that allow developmental activation of a provirus.