Generation of T-cell receptor retrogenic mice

Nat Protoc. 2006;1(1):406-17. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2006.61.


T-cell receptor (TCR) transgenic (Tg) mice have revolutionized our understanding of many aspects of T-cell biology. Whereas they provide an almost unlimited source of T cells with a single specificity, breeding them onto different backgrounds and/or new knockout/knock-in mouse models is often time-consuming (6 months to several years), which can make the process costly and can significantly delay research. This protocol describes a new method for expressing defined TCR-alpha and TCR-beta proteins from a single 2A peptide-linked multicistronic retroviral vector in mice, using retrovirus-mediated stem cell gene transfer. We refer to these as 'retrogenic' (Rg) mice ('retro' from retrovirus and 'genic' from Tg) to avoid confusion with traditional transgenic mice. We have successfully used this approach to express over 50 different TCRs on several different mouse backgrounds in as little as 6 weeks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Mice, Transgenic / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / metabolism
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta