Synthesis and secretion of the mouse whey acidic protein in transgenic sheep
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The synthesis of foreign proteins can be targeted to the mammary gland of transgenic animals, thus permitting commercial purification of otherwise unavailable proteins from milk. Genetic regulatory elements from the mouse whey acidic protein (WAP) gene have been used successfully to direct expression of transgenes to the mammary gland of mice, goats and pigs. To extend the practical usefulness of WAP promoter-driven fusion genes and further characterize WAP expression in heterologous species, we introduced a 6.8 kb DNA fragment containing the genomic form of the mouse WAP gene into sheep zygotes. Two lines of transgenic sheep were produced. The transgene was expressed in mammary tissue of both lines and intact WAP was secreted into milk at concentrations estimated to range from 100 to 500 mg/litre. Ectopic WAP gene expression was found in salivary gland, spleen, liver, lung, heart muscle, kidney and bone marrow of one founder ewe. WAP RNA was not detected in skeletal muscle and intestine. These data suggest that unlike pigs, sheep may possess nuclear factors in a variety of tissues that interact with WAP regulatory sequences. Though the data presented are based on only two lines, these findings suggest WAP regulatory sequences may not be suitable as control elements for transgenes in sheep bioreactors.
Keywordswhey acidic protein gene transgenic sheep bioreactor mammary gland
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