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Genes Dev. 1992 Jun;6(6):903-18.

A gene trap approach in mouse embryonic stem cells: the lacZ reported is activated by splicing, reflects endogenous gene expression, and is mutagenic in mice.

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Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto, Canada.


We have confirmed that the gene trap vector pGT4.5 creates spliced fusion transcripts with endogenous genes and prevents the synthesis of normal transcripts at the site of integration. cDNA was prepared to the lacZ fusion transcript in three ES cell lines to recover endogenous exon sequences upstream of lacZ. Each of the clones detected a unique-sized endogenous transcript, as well as the fusion transcript in the ES cell line from which the clone was derived. Sequence analysis of these clones and larger clones isolated from a random-primed cDNA library showed that the splice acceptor was used properly. For two insertions, the expression patterns of the lacZ reporter and the associated endogenous gene were compared in situ at three embryonic stages and were found to be similar. Three gene trap insertions were transmitted into the germ line, and abnormalities were observed with two of the three insertions in the homozygous state. RNA obtained from mice homozygous for the two mutant gene trap insertions was analyzed for normal endogenous transcripts and negligible amounts were detected, indicating that little splicing around the gene trap insertion occurred. This work demonstrates the capacity of the gene trap vector to generate lacZ fusion transcripts, to accurately report endogenous gene expression, and to mutate the endogenous gene at the site of integration.

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