, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 799-808
Date: 13 Jan 2010

Transgenic rabbit production with simian immunodeficiency virus-derived lentiviral vector

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Abstract

Transgenic rabbit is the preferred disease model of atherosclerosis, lipoprotein metabolism and cardiovascular diseases since upon introducing genetic mutations of human genes, rabbit models reflect human physiological and pathological states more accurately than mouse models. Beyond that, transgenic rabbits are also used as bioreactors to produce pharmaceutical proteins in their milk. Since in the laboratory rabbit the conventional transgenesis has worked with the same low efficiency in the last twenty five years and truly pluripotent embryonic stem cells are not available to perform targeted mutagenesis, our aim was to adapt lentiviral transgenesis to this species. A simian immunodeficiency virus based replication defective lentiviral vector was used to create transgenic rabbit through perivitelline space injection of fertilized oocytes. The enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene was placed under the ubiquitous CAG promoter. Transgenic founder rabbits showed mosaic pattern of GFP expression. Transgene integration and expression was revealed in tissues derived from all three primary germ layers. Transgene expression was detected in the developing sperm cells and could get through the germ line without epigenetic silencing, albeit with very low frequency. Our data show for the first time, that lentiviral transgenesis could be a feasible and viable alternative method to create genetically modified laboratory rabbit.