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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transgene expression and repression in transgenic rats bearing the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-simian virus 40 T antigen or the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase-transforming growth factor-alpha constructs.

Transgenic Sprague-Dawley rats expressing either human transforming growth factor-alpha (TGFalpha) or simian virus 40 large and small T antigen ( TAg), each under the control of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase ( PEPCK) promoter, were developed as an approach to the study of the promotion of hepatocarcinogenesis in the presence of a transgene regulatable by diet and/or hormones. Five lines of PEPCK-TGFalpha transgenic rats were established, each genetic line containing from one to several copies of the transgene per haploid genome. Two PEPCK- TAg transgenic founder rats were obtained, each with multiple copies of the transgene. Expression of the transgene was undetectable in the TGFalpha transgenic rats and could not be induced when the animals were placed on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The transgene was found to be highly methylated in all of these lines. No pathological alterations in the liver and intestine were observed at any time (up to 2 years) during the lives of these rats. One line of transgenic rats expressing the PEPCK- TAg transgene developed pancreatic islet cell hyperplasias and carcinomas, with few normal islets evident in the pancreas. This transgene is integrated as a hypomethylated tandem array of 10 to 12 copies on chromosome 8q11. Expression of large T antigen is highest in pancreatic neoplasms, but is also detectable in the normal brain, kidney, and liver. Mortality is most rapid in males, starting at 5 months of age and reaching 100% by 8 months. Morphologically, islet cell differentiation in the tumors ranges from poor to well differentiated, with regions of necrosis and fibrosis. Spontaneous metastasis of TAg-positive tumor cells to regional lymph nodes was observed. These studies indicate the importance of DNA methylation in the repression of specific transgenes in the rat. However, the expression of the PEPCK- TAg induces neoplastic transformation in islet cells, probably late in neuroendocrine cell differentiation. T antigen expression during neoplastic development may result in a pervasive change in the islet cell growth properties with selection of a transformed phenotype as a possible requirement for cell viability.[1]


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