Letter | Published:

Retrovirus transfer of a bacterial gene into mouse haematopoietic progenitor cells

Naturevolume 305pages556558 (1983) | Download Citation



The haematopoietic system is made up of a hierarchy of cells with different developmental, functional and proliferative capacities. Although cellular diversity appears to arise from the commitment and maturation of stem cells, the molecular basis for this differentiation process is unknown. The introduction of cloned DNA sequences into haematopoietic progenitor cells would provide a novel approach for studying this differentiating in vivo system. One laboratory has reported DNA-mediated transfer of genes into mouse bone marrow cells1,2. However, retroviruses offer a number of advantages over DNA-mediated gene transfer procedures, including high efficiency infection of a wide range of cell types in vitro and in vivo, stable and low copy integration into the host chromosome, and a defined integrated provirus structure. For these reasons recombinant DNA techniques have been utilized to construct high efficiency retrovirus vectors expressing foreign genes3–8. We demonstrate here, using such a retrovirus vector, the transfer of a dominant selectable drug-resistance gene into defined classes of mouse haematopoietic progenitor cells. These observations should facilitate the development of molecular genetic approaches to fundamental and clinical problems in haematopoiesis.

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    • Alexandra Joyner

    Present address: Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, 94143, USA

    • Gordon Keller

    Present address: Basel Institute for Immunology, Grenzacherstrasse 487, CH4005, Basel, Switzerland


  1. The Ontario Cancer Institute and The Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, 500 Sherbourne Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4X 1K9, Canada

    • Alexandra Joyner
    • , Gordon Keller
    • , Robert A. Phillips
    •  & Alan Bernstein


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