Faculty Research 1990 - 1999

Molecular analysis of gene conversion in spermatids from transgenic mice.

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Gene 1997 Oct 24;200(1-2):185-92


GM45415/GM/NIGMS, ES0574301A/ES/NIEHS, 5T32BD07065/BD/FDA


Investigations into the mechanisms and properties of gene conversion in mammals are greatly restricted by the inability to recover all the products of a meiosis. Additionally, the study of this process has been hampered by the lack of visible markers to detect gene conversion, especially when the events are rare. In previous work, we developed a transgenic system for detection and quantitation of gene conversion events in the germline of mice (Murti, J.R., Bumbulis, M., Schimenti, J.C., 1992. High frequency germline gene conversion in transgenic mice. Mol. Cell. Biol. 12, 2545-2552) that could be exploited as an assay for recombinogenic chemicals (Murti, J.R, Schimenti, K.J., Schimenti, J.C., 1994. A recombination-based transgenic mouse system for genotoxicity testing. Mutat. Res. 307, 583-595). A specific intrachromosomal gene conversion event between two complementarily defective lacZ genes resulted in the production of beta-galactosidase in spermatids, enabling a measurement of conversion frequency. Here, we report that the anticancer drug, cisplatin, increased gene conversion in meiotic stage cells in these transgenic mice. Furthermore, a method was developed for direct molecular analysis of transgene conversion events in single or pooled lacZ-positive spermatids. The ability to identify gametes that have undergone a rare gene conversion event, followed by molecular amplification of the recombinant gene, should make it possible to investigate the mechanisms of genetic recombination in mammals in greater detail than previously possible.

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