Isolation and Genetic Transformation of Primordial Germ Cell (PGC)-Derived Cells from Cattle, Goats, Rabbits and Rats

  • Lee, C.K. (Department of Animal Science, Texas A&M University) ;
  • Moore, K. (Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University) ;
  • Scales, N. (Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University) ;
  • Westhusin, M. (Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, Texas A&M University) ;
  • Newton, G. (Cooperative Agriculture Research Center, Prairie View A&M University) ;
  • Im, K.S. (Department of Animal Science and Technology, Seoul National University) ;
  • Piedrahita, J.A. (Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, Texas A&M University)
  • Received : 1999.06.08
  • Accepted : 1999.10.09
  • Published : 2000.05.01


At present embryonic stem (ES) cells with confirmed pluripotential properties are only available in the mouse. Recently, we were able to isolate, culture and genetically transform primordial germ cell (PGC)-derived cells from pig embryos and demonstrate their ability to contribute to chimera development in the pig. In order to determine whether the system we developed could be used to isolate embryonic germ (EG) cells from other mammalian species, we placed isolated PGCs from cattle, goats, rabbits and rats in culture. Briefly, PGCs were isolated from fetuses of cow (day 30-50), goat (day 25), rabbit (day 15-18) and rat (day 11-12), and plated on STO feeder cells in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium (DMEM): Ham's F10 medium (1:1) supplemented with 0.01 mM nonessential amino acids, 2 mM L-glutamine, 0.1 mM $\beta$ - mercaptoethnol, soluble recombinant human stem cell factor (SCF; 40ng/ml), human basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF; 20ng/ml) and human leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF; 20ng/ml). For maintenance of the cells, colonies were passed to fresh feeders every 7-10 days. In all species tested, we were able to obtain and maintain colonies with ES-like morphology. Their developmental potential was tested by alkaline phosphatase (AP) staining and in vitro differentiation assay. For genetic transformation, cells were electroporated with a construct containing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. GFP-expressing colonies were detected in cattle, rabbits and rats. These results suggest that PGC-derived cells from cattle, goats, rabbits and rats can be isolated, cultured, and genetically transformed, and provide the basis for analyzing their developmental potential and their possible use for the precise genetic modification of these species.

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