Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 103, Issue 5, pp 2171–2180 | Cite as

Establishment and characterization of an immortalized renal cell line of the Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinesis)

  • Tianle Gu
  • Dandan Yu
  • Yu Li
  • Ling Xu
  • Yu-Lin Yao
  • Yong-Gang YaoEmail author
Biotechnological products and process engineering


The Chinese tree shrew holds a great potential as a viable animal model in biomedical research, especially for infectious diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders. A thorough understanding of the innate immunity, which represents the first line that defends the host against viral infection, of the Chinese tree shrew, is needed. However, the progress is hindered by the lack of a proper cell line for research usage. In this study, we established a cell line that is applicable to the study of tree shrew innate immune responses against viral infections. The Chinese tree shrew primary renal cells (TSPRCs) were immortalized by simian virus 40 large T antigen (SV40LT) transduction, and the immortalized cells were termed TSR6 (tree shrew renal cell #6). TSR6 showed a similar morphology to TSPRCs and expressed the epithelial cell-specific marker cytokeratin 18 (KRT18). In addition, TSR6 could be transfected by transfection reagent and was suitable for CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing. Infection of Newcastle disease virus (NDV) or herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) in TSR6 induced the mRNA expression of tree shrew interferon-β (tIFNB1) and myxovirus resistance protein 1 (tMx1) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Collectively, we successfully established a tree shrew renal cell line and demonstrated that this cell line was suitable for the study of the innate immune response to viral infections.


Tree shrew Cell line Viral infection Innate immune response 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1402224 to Y-GY), Yunnan Province (2018FB046 to DY), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS zsys-02 to Y-GY).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All animal studies with tree shrew were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Approval No: SYDW20110315001).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of the Chinese Academy of Sciences & Yunnan ProvinceKunming Institute of ZoologyKunmingChina
  2. 2.Kunming College of Life ScienceUniversity of Chinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  3. 3.Center for Excellence in Animal Evolution and GeneticsChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  4. 4.Kunming Primate Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Institute of ZoologyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina

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