Efficient gene transfer into the embryonic mouse brain using in vivo electroporation

Dev Biol. 2001 Dec 1;240(1):237-46. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2001.0439.


Mouse genetic manipulation has provided an excellent system to characterize gene function in numerous contexts. A number of mutants have been produced by using transgenic, gene knockout, and mutagenesis techniques. Nevertheless, one limitation is that it is difficult to express a gene in vivo in a restricted manner (i.e., spatially and temporally), because the number of available enhancers and promoters which can confine gene expression is limited. We have developed a novel method to introduce DNA into in/exo utero embryonic mouse brains at various stages by using electroporation. More than 90% of operated embryos survived, and more than 65% of these expressed the introduced genes in restricted regions of the brain. Expression was maintained even after birth, 6 weeks after electroporation. The use of fluorescent protein genes clearly visualized neuronal morphologies in the brain. Moreover, it was possible to transfect three different DNA vectors into the same cells. Thus, this method will be a powerful tool to characterize gene function in various settings due to its high efficiency and localized gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Electroporation / methods*
  • Female
  • Genes, Reporter
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Pregnancy
  • Transfection / standards*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • yellow fluorescent protein, Bacteria