Expression of exogenous genes in Trypanosoma cruzi: improving vectors and electroporation protocols
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- DaRocha, W.D., Silva, R.A., Bartholomeu, D.C. et al. Parasitol Res (2004) 92: 113. doi:10.1007/s00436-003-1004-5
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To improve transfection efficiency in Trypanosoma cruzi, we developed a new electroporation protocol and expression vectors which use luciferase and green and red fluorescent proteins as reporter genes. In transient transfections, the electroporation conditions reported here resulted in luciferase expression 100 times higher than the levels obtained with previously described protocols. To verify whether sequences containing different trans-splicing signals influence reporter gene expression, we compared DNA fragments corresponding to 5′ untranslated plus intergenic (5′ UTR plus Ig) regions from GAPDH, TcP2β, α- and β-tubulin and amastin genes. Vectors containing sequences derived from the first four genes presented similar efficiencies and resulted in luciferase expression in transiently transfected epimastigotes that was up to 10 times higher than that for a control vector. In contrast, the amastin 5′ UTR plus Ig resulted in lower levels of reporter gene expression. We also constructed a vector containing an expression cassette designed to be targeted to the tubulin locus of the parasite.