Development of transgenic chickens expressing human parathormone under the control of a ubiquitous promoter by using a retrovirus vector system.
Department of Animal Biotechnology, Bio-Organ Research Center, Konkuk University, 1 Hwayang-dong, Gwangjin-Gu, Seoul, 143 701, South Korea.
Transgenic chickens, ubiquitously expressing a human protein, could be a very useful model system for studying the role of human proteins in embryonic development as well as for efficiently producing pharmaceutical drugs as bioreactors. Human parathormone (hPTH) secreted from parathyroid glands plays a significant role in calcium homeostasis and is an important therapeutic agent for the treatment of osteoporosis in humans. Here, by using a robust replication-defective Moloney murine leukemia virus-based retrovirus vector encapsidated with vesicular stomatitis virus G glycoprotein, we generated transgenic chickens expressing hPTH under the control of a ubiquitous Rous sarcoma virus promoter. The recombinant retrovirus was injected into the subgerminal cavity of freshly laid eggs at the blastodermal stage. After 21 d of incubation, 42 chicks hatched from 473 retrovirus-injected eggs. All 42 living chicks were found to express the vector-encoded hPTH gene in diverse organs, as revealed by PCR and reverse transcription-PCR analysis by using primer pairs specific for hPTH. Four days after hatching, 6 chicks died and 14 chicks showed phenotypic deformities. At 18 wk of age, only 3 G(0) chickens survived. They also released the hPTH hormone in their blood and transmitted the hPTH gene to G(1) embryos. However, although the embryos were alive at d 18 of incubation, none hatched. An electrochemiluminescence immunoassay further showed that the hPTH expression level was markedly elevated in mammalian cells infected by the retrovirus vector. Thus, we demonstrated that transgenic chickens, expressing a human protein under the control of a ubiquitous promoter, not only could be an efficient bioreactor for the production of pharmaceutical drugs, but also could be useful for studies on the role of human proteins in embryonic development. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the production of a human protein (hPTH) in transgenic chickens under the control of a ubiquitous promoter by using a replication-defective Moloney murine leukemia virus-based retrovirus vector system.