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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26650. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026650. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

piggyBac transposon somatic mutagenesis with an activated reporter and tracker (PB-SMART) for genetic screens in mice.

Author information

1
Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.

Abstract

Somatic forward genetic screens have the power to interrogate thousands of genes in a single animal. Retroviral and transposon mutagenesis systems in mice have been designed and deployed in somatic tissues for surveying hematopoietic and solid tumor formation. In the context of cancer, the ability to visually mark mutant cells would present tremendous advantages for identifying tumor formation, monitoring tumor growth over time, and tracking tumor infiltrations and metastases into wild-type tissues. Furthermore, locating mutant clones is a prerequisite for screening and analyzing most other somatic phenotypes. For this purpose, we developed a system using the piggyBac (PB) transposon for somatic mutagenesis with an activated reporter and tracker, called PB-SMART. The PB-SMART mouse genetic screening system can simultaneously induce somatic mutations and mark mutated cells using bioluminescence or fluorescence. The marking of mutant cells enable analyses that are not possible with current somatic mutagenesis systems, such as tracking cell proliferation and tumor growth, detecting tumor cell infiltrations, and reporting tissue mutagenesis levels by a simple ex vivo visual readout. We demonstrate that PB-SMART is highly mutagenic, capable of tumor induction with low copy transposons, which facilitates the mapping and identification of causative insertions. We further integrated a conditional transposase with the PB-SMART system, permitting tissue-specific mutagenesis with a single cross to any available Cre line. Targeting the germline, the system could also be used to conduct F1 screens. With these features, PB-SMART provides an integrated platform for individual investigators to harness the power of somatic mutagenesis and phenotypic screens to decipher the genetic basis of mammalian biology and disease.

PMID:
22039523
PMCID:
PMC3198810
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0026650
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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