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Gene transfer to pre-hematopoietic and committed hematopoietic precursors in the early mouse Yolk Sac: a comparative study between in situ electroporation and retroviral transduction
Sébastien JD Giroux1 ,2 ,3, Celmar Alves-Leiva1 ,2 ,3, Yann Lécluse1 ,2 ,3, Patrick Martin4, Olivier Albagli* 1 ,2 ,3 and Isabelle Godin* 1 ,2 ,3
1INSERM U790, Institut Gustave Roussy-PR1; 39, Rue Camille Desmoulins, 94805 Villejuif, France2Institut Gustave Roussy, 39, Rue Camille Desmoulins; 94805 Villejuif, France3Université de Paris XI, Orsay, France4CNRS UMR6548; Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Bât. Sciences Naturelles; Parc Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 2; France
Hematopoietic development in vertebrate embryos results from the sequential contribution of two pools of precursors independently generated. While intra-embryonic precursors harbour the features of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC), precursors formed earlier in the yolk sac (YS) display limited differentiation and self-renewal potentials. The mechanisms leading to the generation of the precursors in both sites are still largely unknown, as are the molecular basis underlying their different potential. A possible approach to assess the role of candidate genes is to transfer or modulate their expression/activity in both sites. We thus designed and compared transduction protocols to target either native extra-embryonic precursors, or hematopoietic precursors.
One transduction protocol involves transient modification of gene expression through in situ electroporation of the prospective blood islands, which allows the evolution of transfected mesodermal cells in their "normal" environment, upon organ culture. Following in situ electroporation of a GFP reporter construct into the YS cavity of embryos at post-streak (mesodermal/pre-hematopoietic precursors) or early somite (hematopoietic precursors) stages, high GFP expression levels as well as a good preservation of cell viability is observed in YS explants. Moreover, the erythro-myeloid progeny typical of the YS arises from GFP+ mesodermal cells or hematopoietic precursors, even if the number of targeted precursors is low. The second approach, based on retroviral transduction allows a very efficient transduction of large precursor numbers, but may only be used to target 8 dpc YS hematopoietic precursors. Again, transduced cells generate a progeny quantitatively and qualitatively similar to that of control YS.
We thus provide two protocols whose combination may allow a thorough study of both early and late events of hematopoietic development in the murine YS. In situ electroporation constitutes the only possible gene transfer method to transduce mesodermal/pre-hematopoietic precursors and analyze the earliest steps of hematopoietic development. Both in situ electroporation and retroviral transduction may be used to target early hematopoietic precursors, but the latter appears more convenient if a large pool of stably transduced cells is required. We discuss the assets and limitation of both methods, which may be alternatively chosen depending on scientific constraints.
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