Functional characterization of transgene integration patterns by halo fluorescence in situ hybridization: electroporation versus retroviral infection

Biochemistry. 2003 Jun 17;42(23):7035-43. doi: 10.1021/bi0340907.


Gene transfer techniques are essential for bioengineering and gene therapy. Retroviral vectors constitute an important tool in this context as integrase-catalyzed genomic anchoring is one of the best defined results of nonhomologous recombination, occurring at loci with favorable expression properties. On the basis of a retroviral expression cassette, this study focuses on differences regarding the genomic targets after its transfer by either retroviral infection or electroporation. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) of clones generated by infection revealed for the majority an association of the transgene with the nuclear matrix while this was true only for a minority of single copy clones if the same construct was transferred by electroporation. Our results demonstrate that the process of integration is distinct for both gene transfer routes and confirm that retroviral survival strategies favor integration next to scaffold/matrix attachment regions. These results may be one key to explain recent consequences of gene therapy trials that have led to the deregulation of endogenous genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Nucleus / chemistry
  • Cricetinae
  • Electroporation
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence / methods*
  • Nuclear Matrix / genetics
  • Nuclear Matrix / metabolism
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Transfection
  • Transgenes*
  • Virus Integration / genetics*