In Vivo Introduction of Transgenes into Mouse Sciatic Nerve Cells Using Viral Vectors
Myelinated fibers are essential for the rapid and efficient propagation of nerve information throughout the body. These fibers result from an intimate crosstalk between myelinating glia and the myelinated axons and, because it is difficult to fully reproduce these interactions in vitro, the basic molecular mechanisms that regulate myelination, demyelination, and remyelination remain unclear. Schwann cells produce myelin in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and remain associated with the axons of peripheral neurons throughout axonal migration to the target. In order to investigate more closely the biology of myelinated fibers, we developed a local transgenesis approach based on the injection of engineered viral vectors in the sciatic nerve of mice to locally transduce peripheral nerve cells. This approach represents an alternative to germline modifications as it facilitates and speed up the investigation of peripheral nerve biology in vivo. Indeed the protocol we describe here requires just 3 weeks to complete. The injection of engineered viral vectors in the sciatic nerve of mice is a reproducible and straightforward method for introducing exogenous factors into myelinating Schwann cells and myelinated axons in vivo in order to investigate specific molecular mechanisms.
Key wordsPeripheral nerve Viral transduction Schwann cells Axons Transgenesis Sciatic nerve
N.T. is grateful for the support of European research council (FP7-IDEAS-ERC 311610) and ATIP-Avenir program. R.F. work was supported by Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale and the Marie-Curie fellowship program. G.H. work has benefited from support by the Labex EpiGenMed.