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

Expression of a foreign protein in human megakaryocytes and platelets by retrovirally mediated gene transfer.

Recent progress in the culture of human megakaryocytes (MKs) has led to the capacity to produce platelets in vitro. This capability enables investigation into the possibility of modifying platelet structure and/or function by genetically altering the MK. To this end, a cDNA for the murine CD9 (mCD9) cell surface protein was introduced into MK progenitors by retrovirally mediated gene transfer and subsequently detected in cultured MKs with a monoclonal antibody (MoAb) that specifically recognizes the murine protein. CD34+ human peripheral blood or marrow progenitors, enriched by immunomagnetic bead selection, were cultured for 5 days in the presence of growth factors, including stem cell factor and thrombopoietin, to induce MK progenitors into the cell cycle. The stimulated cells were then cocultured with the mCD9 retroviral producer cell line for 3 days, followed by culture in serum-depleted medium for 3 to 7 additional days. Flow cytometry analysis using the anti-CD9 MoAb and TAB, a MoAb recognizing human GPIIb, revealed that a large proportion (40-100%) of the MKs expressed mCD9. To ascertain whether these cells were capable of producing mCD9+ platelets, flow cytometry analysis was performed at a time when proplatelets were observed in the culture. mCD9 was detected in up to 59% of the TAB+ platelet-sized particles. Because deteriorating MKs can produce platelet-sized particles in vitro, experiments were performed to determine whether mCD9+ TAB+ particles were functionally active. Addition of phorbol myristate acetate resulted in the redistribution of P-selectin (CD62) from the alpha granule to the platelet surface as detected by MoAbs S12 and G5 in three-color flow cytometry analyses. These studies showed that up to 76% of the mCD9+ TAB+ particles were functionally active. The data show that retrovirally mediated gene transfer is a viable approach for genetically altering MK progenitors, resulting in platelets that express heterologous proteins.[1]


  1. Expression of a foreign protein in human megakaryocytes and platelets by retrovirally mediated gene transfer. Burstein, S.A., Dubart, A., Norol, F., Debili, N., Friese, P., Downs, T., Yu, X., Kincade, P.W., Villeval, J.L., Vainchenker, W. Exp. Hematol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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