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J Neurosci Res. 1992 Jan;31(1):175-87.

Expression of the neu oncogene under the transcriptional control of the myelin basic protein gene in transgenic mice: generation of transformed glial cells.

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Brain and Development Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7250.


We have taken a transgenic approach in an effort to specifically transform oligodendrocytes, the myelinating glial cells of the central nervous system (CNS). Transgenic mice were generated with a DNA construct that contained the activated neu oncogene under the transcriptional control of the myelin basic protein (MBP) gene. The MBP/c-neu transgenic animals have experienced a low incidence of brain tumors that express molecular markers specific to oligodendrocytes, providing a mouse model to study the formation and progression of oligodendrocyte tumors. A tumor from a transgenic animal has been dispersed in culture, and transformed cells that express properties of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes have been maintained. The degree to which these cells express phenotypic characteristic of oligodendrocytes or astrocytes is influenced by culture conditions. These transformed cells should serve as a valuable resource with which to study various molecular and biochemical aspects of the myelination process, as well as the lineage interrelationship of CNS glial cells.

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