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Exp Cell Res. 1991 Aug;195(2):516-23.

In vivo analysis of a new lacZ retrovirus vector suitable for cell lineage marking in avian and other species.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York 10021.


To obtain a replication-defective retrovirus vector well suited for cell lineage marking in early avian embryos, we have constructed and tested a derivative of the avian spleen necrosis virus (SNV) carrying the marker gene lacZ. Consistently high titers of this virus, designated CXL, were produced from retroviral packaging cells with no evidence of contaminating helper virus even after 12 months of continuous culture. CXL expresses lacZ strongly and stably in avian cells and has a host range that extends to other avian and some mammalian species. We show that CXL has the potential to mark a wide variety of chick embryo cell types by infection in ovo. The high titers obtainable with this virus can provide a significant advantage over alternative lacZ vectors, especially in lineage marking of early stage embryos. As an example of this, we show that CXL can be used to mark cells of the precardiac mesoderm in stage 4-5 chick embryos.

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