Vaccinia-T7 RNA polymerase expression system: evaluation for the expression cloning of plasma membrane transporters

Anal Biochem. 1991 May 1;194(2):302-8. doi: 10.1016/0003-2697(91)90233-j.


The vaccinia/T7 transient expression system, which results in rapid, high-level expression of proteins encoded by plasmids bearing T7 promoters, provides a powerful strategy for the expression cloning of membrane transporters. To test the feasibility of this approach, we introduced the rabbit Na+/glucose transporter by liposome-mediated transfection into vaccinia infected HeLa cells and determined the characteristics and sensitivity of induced [14C]alpha-methyl D-glucopyranoside uptake. We observed a rapid (4-12 h) expression of saturable (Kt = 342 microM) [14C]alpha-methyl D-glucopyranoside uptake following transfection, with substrate and inhibitor sensitivities of the native carrier, including Na+ and temperature dependence and appropriate phloridzin sensitivity (KI = 9.1 microM). The time-dependent increase in alpha-methyl D-glucopyranoside uptake coincided with a decline in endogenous Na+/D-aspartate transport. Maximal levels of expression achieved were nearly 10-fold higher than that reported for transient expression of Na+/glucose transporters in the COS cell system. Rate and dilution estimates demonstrates a sensitivity of detection of single clones diluted several thousand fold by nonspecific plasmid DNA. A further 3-fold increase in transport sensitivity was achieved after transfection of plasmid constructs bearing additional 5'-T7 stem-loop and 3'-T7 termination signals. When cell lines with low endogenous transport were coupled with substrates of high specific activity, as with measurements of induced [3H]gamma-aminobutyric acid uptake, we were able to detect expression from transporter bearing plasmids diluted as much as 10,000-fold by non-specific plasmid DNA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cloning, Molecular / methods*
  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / genetics*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism
  • Rabbits
  • Transfection
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics*
  • Viral Proteins


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • DNA
  • bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases