Plasmid vectors for the rapid isolation and transcriptional analysis of human beta-globin gene alleles.

P. F. Little, R. Treisman, L. Bierut, B. Seed, T. Maniatis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


We describe the construction and characterization of miniplasmid vectors that can be used to isolate and express normal and mutant alleles of the human beta-globin gene. These vectors, designated pi SV beta plasmids, contain a bacterial origin of replication and selectable marker, a 5'-flanking beta-globin DNA fragment that can be used for recombination screening (Seed, 1983), and simian virus 40 (SV40) sequences that allow accurate and efficient expression of the beta-globin gene transfected into mammalian cells. We show that pi SV beta plasmids can be used to select cloned beta-globin genes from a bacteriophage lambda library of genomic DNA, and that plasmids containing the beta-globin gene linked to the SV40 enhancer sequence can be excised from the phage, circularized and recovered by transformation of Escherichia coli. Analysis of the beta-globin transcripts produced by the recovered pi SV beta recombinant plasmids after transfection into COS cells and replication to high copy number, indicates that the beta-globin gene is accurately transcribed, but a substantial fraction of the transcripts are the result of readthrough from sites within the vector. In contrast, when these plasmids are transferred into HeLa cells beta-globin RNA is accurately initiated and little readthrough transcription is observed. These results indicate that HeLa cells are more suitable than COS cells for studying mutant beta-globin genes, even though the copy number of the pi SV beta plasmids is much higher in COS cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-488
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular biology & medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

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