The neomycin phosphotransferase (neo) gene was transduced into murine hematopoietic stem cells by culturing a recombinant retrovirus- producing cell line in a Transwell (Costar, Cambridge, MA) (bottomed with a porous membrane) hung into a Dexter-type long-term bone marrow (BM) culture. Gene transduction into stem cells retaining long-term reconstitution ability was successfully performed by using protocols of total 15 to 18 days of culture including establishment of the Dexter culture, transduction, and G418 selection. In the irradiated recipients of these cells, a large majority of the BM, thymus, and spleen cells as well as peripheral blood (PB) leukocytes were of donor origin and the neo gene was present in these organs up to 21 weeks after cell transfer. One third to two thirds of the in vitro colony-forming cells in the BM of the recipient mice were resistant to cultivation with G418. It was further found that the hematopoietic system of secondary recipients given BM cells from a primary recipient mouse was predominated by original donor-type cells. The transduced neo gene was detected in the PB, BM, thymus, and spleen cells of these secondary recipients. These results indicate that our procedure of retroviral vector-mediated gene transfer is highly effective in safely introducing a gene into pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells.

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