The murine stem cell virus promoter drives correlated transgene expression in the leukocytes and cerebellar Purkinje cells of transgenic mice

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e51015. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051015. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


The murine stem cell virus (MSCV) promoter exhibits activity in mouse hematopoietic cells and embryonic stem cells. We generated transgenic mice that expressed enhanced green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the MSCV promoter. We obtained 12 transgenic founder mice through 2 independent experiments and found that the bodies of 9 of the founder neonates emitted different levels of GFP fluorescence. Flow cytometric analysis of circulating leukocytes revealed that the frequency of GFP-labeled leukocytes among white blood cells ranged from 1.6% to 47.5% across the 12 transgenic mice. The bodies of 9 founder transgenic mice showed various levels of GFP expression. GFP fluorescence was consistently observed in the cerebellum, with faint or almost no fluorescence in other brain regions. In the cerebellum, 10 founders exhibited GFP expression in Purkinje cells at frequencies of 3% to 76%. Of these, 4 mice showed Purkinje cell-specific expression, while 4 and 2 mice expressed GFP in the Bergmann glia and endothelial cells, respectively. The intensity of the GFP fluorescence in the body was relative to the proportion of GFP-positive leukocytes. Moreover, the frequency of the GFP-expressing leukocytes was significantly correlated with the frequency of GFP-expressing Purkinje cells. These results suggest that the MSCV promoter is useful for preferentially expressing a transgene in Purkinje cells. In addition, the proportion of transduced leukocytes in the peripheral circulation reflects the expression level of the transgene in Purkinje cells, which can be used as a way to monitor transgene expression properties in the cerebellum without invasive techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Founder Effect
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Lentivirus / genetics
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Muscle Cells / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Purkinje Cells / metabolism*
  • Retroviridae / genetics*
  • Transgenes / genetics*


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins

Grant support

Funding was provided by Grants-in-Aid Scientific Research (19670003),; The Funding Program for Next Generation World-leading Researchers (LS021),; Research on Measures for Intractable Diseases (Ataxic Diseases and Neurodegenerative Diseases) from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.