Human artificial chromosomes (HACs) were generated by transfer of telomerized PAC constructs containing alpha satellite DNA of various human chromosomes. To monitor which cells took up constructs and subsequently formed stable clones under blasticidin S (BS) selection, a CMV/EGFP expression cassette was inserted into a HAC construct based on chromosome 5 alpha satellite DNA (142 kb). Lipofection into HT1080 cells resulted in a small proportion of cells exhibiting bright green fluorescence on day 1. Areas containing such early green cells were marked, and plates monitored over 2 weeks. In only one out of 41 marked areas, a viable clone developed. In the remaining 40 areas, the green cells ceased division at 1-8 cells. In contrast, outside the marked areas, 16 stable clones formed which did not exhibit green fluorescence during the first cell divisions, but all cells of each became green around day 4-6. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis of isolated clonal lines demonstrated low copy HAC formation without integration. We conclude that transient expression of an EGFP marker on HAC DNA is not a suitable means for the identification of the proportion of transfected cells which are capable of forming viable clones. One explanation could be that the high copy number required to consistently detect transient EGFP expression (Schindelhauer and Laner, 2002) impairs viability and clone formation.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel