Gene transfer and genetic modification of embryonic stem cells by Cre- and Cre-PR-expressing MESV-based retroviral vectors

Stelios Psarras, Niki Karagianni, Christoph Kellendonk, François Tronche, François Loic Cosset, Carol Stocking, Volker Schirrmacher, Harald von Boehmer, Khashayarsha Khazaie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background. Genetic modification of embryonic stem (ES) cells represents a powerful tool for transgenic and developmental experiments. We report that retroviral constructs based on murine embryonal stem cell virus (MESV) can efficiently deliver and express Cre recombinase or a post-translationally inducible Cre-Progesterone receptor (Cre.PR) fusion in mouse fibroblasts and ES cells. Methods. To study the vectors a sensitive reporter cell line, 3TZ, was derived from the murine 3T6 fibroblast line that expresses β-galactosidase only upon Cre-mediated recombination. This was used together with the ROSA26-R ES cell Cre-reporter system or unmodified mouse ES cells as targets of infection. Efficiency of gene transfer was evaluated immunohistochemically by the use of an anti-Cre polyclonal antibody, and by monitoring the expression of β-galactosidase. Results. Infection of the 3TZ cells with high titer 718C or 719CP virus revealed efficient gene transduction of constitutive or hormone-inducible recombinase activity, respectively. The vectors efficiently transduced murine ES cells with Cre, Cre-PR (fusion of Cre and progesterone receptor) or β-galactosidase. Cre-mediated recombination in more than 60% of ROSA26-R ES cells was achieved when infected by a VSV-G-pseudotyped MESV retrovirus at MOI of 50. Conclusions. The MESV-based retroviral systems, when combined with hormone inducible Cre, represent efficient tools for the transfer of Cre activity in ES cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-42
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gene Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Adenoviral vectors
  • Cre recombinase
  • Cre.PR fusion
  • ES cells
  • Gene transfer
  • MESV retroviral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)


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