An HSV-1 vector containing the rat tyrosine hydroxylase promoter enhances both long-term and cell type-specific expression in the midbrain

Song Song, Yaming Wang, Sun Yung Bak, Phung Lang, Donna Ullrey, Rachael L. Neve, Karen L. O'Malley, Alfred I. Geller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

A defective herpes simplex virus type one (HSV-1) vector that contains a 6.8-kb fragment of the rat tyrosine hydroxylase promoter (pTHlac-7kb) was examined for its capability to target catecholaminergic cell type-specific expression in the CNS. Cell type-specific expression was assessed by comparison with a control vector (pHSVlac) that uses the HSV-1 immediate early 4/5 promoter to support expression in multiple cell types. In initial experiments comparing expression in catecholaminergic and noncatecholaminergic cell lines, pTHlac-7kb supported a seven- to 20-fold increase in reporter gene expression in catecholaminergic cell lines. Four days after stereotactic injection into the midbrain of adult rats, pTHlac- 7kb supported a 10-fold targeting of β-galactosidase expression to tyrosine hydroxylase-expressing neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta compared with pHSVlac. Expression from pTHlac-7kb was stably maintained for 6 weeks with no significant changes in the pattern of expression. Long-term expression from pTHlac-7kb was confirmed by RNA and DNA analysis. In contrast, reporter gene expression in the midbrain from pHSVlac decreased ~30-fold between 4 days and 6 weeks after gene transfer. Thus, within the context of this HSV-1 vector system, the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter enhanced cell type-specific expression and contributed to stable, long-term expression of a recombinant gene product in neurons. The capability to target recombinant gene expression to catecholaminergic neurons in specific brain areas may be useful for studies on the roles of these neurons in brain physiology and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1792-1803
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Volume68
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1997

Keywords

  • Cell type-specific expression
  • Genetic intervention.
  • HSV-1 vector
  • In vivo gene transfer
  • Long-term expression
  • Tyrosine hydroxylase promoter

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