Gene Transfer and Expression in Animal Cells

Authored by: Sarah E. Kampert , Eric Devaney , Margaret V. Westfall

Handbook of Molecular and Cellular Methods in Biology and Medicine

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781420069389
eBook ISBN: 9781439881958
Adobe ISBN:


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Gene transfer into isolated populations of cells provides valuable insight and is often a first step in the investigation of a novel protein. Studies in cell lines often require gene transfer of a designated cDNA to evaluate the structure and/or function of a specific protein without the compensatory adaptations often observed in intact animal models. 1 Gene transfer at the cellular level also has proven enormously important toward achieving this goal under a variety of circumstances. One important example is the use of gene transfer into genetically defined animal models to gain insights into a specific signaling pathway and/or function of a pathway during a specific phase of organ development. 2 In addition, currently available immortalized cardiac cells do not adequately model terminally differentiated adult cells. 3 Thus, gene transfer into primary cultures of these cells provides a first step toward characterizing and evaluating protein function. While the use of genetically modified animals, including transgenic and gene-targeted models, is a common practice, cellular gene transfer can often be utilized as a screen to determine the most appropriate model to pursue in intact animals. 4 , 5 Gene transfer into cell lines or primary culture is a highly efficient and effective approach for introducing a foreign piece of DNA into cells as a means to establish proof of concept or testing hypothesis-driven experiments. 5

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