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Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Nov;5(11):959-66. Epub 2003 Oct 15.

Stable reprogrammed heterokaryons form spontaneously in Purkinje neurons after bone marrow transplant.

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1
Baxter Laboratory in Genetic Pharmacology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. jweimann@stanford.edu

Abstract

Heterokaryons are the product of cell fusion without subsequent nuclear or chromosome loss. Decades of research using Sendai-virus or polyethylene glycol (PEG)-mediated fusion in tissue culture showed that the terminally differentiated state of a cell could be altered. But whether stable non-dividing heterokaryons could occur in animals has remained unclear. Here, we show that green fluorescent protein (GFP)-positive bone-marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) contribute to adult mouse Purkinje neurons through cell fusion. The formation of heterokaryons increases in a linear manner over 1.5 years and seems to be stable. The dominant Purkinje neurons caused the BMDC nuclei within the resulting heterokaryons to enlarge, exhibit dispersed chromatin and activate a Purkinje neuron-specific transgene, L7-GFP. The observed reprogrammed heterokaryons that form in brain may provide insights into gene regulation associated with cell-fate plasticity.

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PMID:
14562057
DOI:
10.1038/ncb1053
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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