Co-influence of transgene expression in mammalian cells. Mutual influence of transgenes on their expression in mammalian cells

Tsitologiia. 2003;45(4):387-91.


It becomes increasingly clear that therapeutic gene delivery should provide not only for the sustained high level of gene expression but also, in most cases, for the regulated expression of transgenes as much as it occurs under natural conditions. Over the past few years a variety of different systems have been developed in order to regulate the amounts of transcribed RNA upon administration of exogenous agents, or in autoregulated manner. While efforts were focused on optimizing gene expression at the transcriptional level, other levels are still overlooked. In the meantime, regulation of gene expression is not restricted to transcription, but is also executed at the post-transcriptional level, i.e. mRNA stability, processing, transport, translation, protein stability, and modification. Codon usage is considered to be one of the critical factors that limit the expression rate of heterologous genes in different organisms at the posttranscriptional level. HIV-1 structural genes gag, pol, and env represent one of the most extensively utilized models for studying codon usage-mediated effects on transgene expression. In the current work we demonstrate that the codon content affects not only CMV-driven HIV-1 gag expression but also the expression of luciferase reporter gene transcribed independently from the SV40 promoter. The expression levels of both transgenes co-transfected into the human H1299 were inversely co-dependent. The observed phenomenon may be described as sequence-independent post-transcriptional gene silencing, which reflects the existing limitation of transgene expression in mammalian cells at the post-transcriptional level. Optimization of the codon usage may provide for the additional level of regulation of transgene expression in gene transfer experiments in order to maintain the concentration of the protein at the therapeutic levels.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Codon / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • Genes, gag / physiology
  • Genetic Therapy
  • HIV-1 / genetics
  • Humans
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • RNA Interference*
  • Transfection
  • Transgenes*


  • Codon
  • Luciferases