Isolation and characterization of immune cells from the tumor microenvironment of genetically engineered pediatric high-grade glioma models using the sleeping beauty transposon system

Methods Enzymol. 2020;632:369-388. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2019.05.023. Epub 2019 Jun 3.


Gliomas are the most common malignant brain tumors in the pediatric population. Even though great efforts have been made to understand their distinctive molecular characteristics, there has not been any improvements in the median survival in decades. In children, high-grade glial tumors have a median survival of 9-15 months. It has recently been demonstrated that pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGG) are biologically and molecularly different from the adult counterparts, which could explain why conventional treatments universally fail. The development of an in vivo pHGG model harboring the specific genetic alterations encountered in pediatric gliomas is imperative in order to study the molecular basis that drives the progression and aggressiveness of these tumors. It would also enable harnessing these results for the development of novel therapeutic approaches. Our lab has implemented a method to induce brain tumors using transposon-mediated integration of plasmid DNA into cells of the subventricular zone of neonatal mouse brain. One of the main advantages of this method is that tumors are induced by altering the genome of the host cells, allowing us to recapitulate the salient features of the human disease. In this chapter we describe a method to isolate two cell populations from tumors generated in situ in mice, i.e., one population enriched in tumor cells and another population enriched in CD45+ cells. We also present methodologies as to how tumor infiltrating immune cells can be phenotypically characterized using flow cytometry.

Keywords: Flow cytometry; High-grade glioma; Immune cell characterization; Immune cell isolation; Magnetic sorting.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / genetics
  • Brain Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Child
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Flow Cytometry / methods*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods
  • Glioma / genetics
  • Glioma / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / cytology*
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immunomagnetic Separation / methods
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / analysis
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens / immunology
  • Mice
  • Transposases / genetics
  • Tumor Microenvironment*


  • Transposases
  • sleeping beauty transposase, human
  • Leukocyte Common Antigens