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Mol Cell Biol. 1985 Feb;5(2):305-12.

Characterization of a retrovirus shuttle vector capable of either proviral integration or extrachromosomal replication in mouse cells.


A retrovirus shuttle vector is described that contains the dominant selectable neo gene which confers resistance to kanamycin in bacteria and to the drug G418 in animal cells. The bacterial supF gene and the origins of DNA replication from polyomavirus and the ColE1 replicon also have been included in this vector. Infection of normal rodent cells results in single-copy proviral integration, whereas infection of mouse (MOP) cells expressing polyoma large T antigen results in extrachromosomal replication of the DNA form of the virus. The copy number of the extrachromosomal circles in MOP cells varies from 0 to 100 copies per cell. G418-resistant MOP cells lose their drug-resistant phenotype after passage under nonselective conditions, suggesting that maintenance of the extrachromosomal circles is unstable. The extrachromosomal form of the virus can be recovered as plasmids in Escherichia coli. Two-thirds of the circles analyzed were found to be structurally intact. The others have undergone rearrangements including deletions and insertions. The bacterial supF gene was found to be intact in the majority of recovered plasmids. The data presented here suggest that these retroviruses should be useful as gene transfer vectors for animal cells in culture or in vivo.

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