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      Cre-LoxP-regulated expression of monoclonal antibodies driven by an ovalbumin promoter in primary oviduct cells


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          A promoter capable of driving high-level transgene expression in oviduct cells is important for developing transgenic chickens capable of producing therapeutic proteins, including monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), in the whites of laid eggs. Ovalbumin promoters can be used as oviduct-specific regulatory sequences in transgenic chickens, but their promoter activities are not high, according to previous reports.


          In this study, while using a previously characterized ovalbumin promoter, we attempted to improve the expression level of mAbs using a Cre/ loxP-mediated conditional excision system. We constructed a therapeutic mAb expression vector, pBS-DS-hIgG, driven by the CMV and CAG promoters, in which the expression of the heavy and light chains of humanized immunoglobulin G (hIgG) is preceded by two floxed stuffer reporter genes. In the presence of Cre, the stuffer genes were precisely excised and hIgG expression was induced in pBS-DS-hIgG-transfected 293T cells. In chicken oviduct primary culture cells, hIgG was expressed after transfection of pBS-DS-hIgG together with the ovalbumin promoter-driven Cre expression vector. The expression level of hIgG in these cells was increased 40-fold over that induced directly by the ovalbumin promoter. On the other hand, hIgG was not induced by the ovalbumin promoter-driven Cre in chicken embryonic fibroblast cells.


          The Cre/ loxP-based system could significantly increase ovalbumin promoter-driven production of proteins of interest, specifically in oviduct cells. This expression system could be useful for producing therapeutic mAbs at high level using transgenic chickens as bioreactors.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Monoclonal antibody successes in the clinic.

          Most monoclonal antibodies in clinical trials are owned by small biotech companies. But with blockbuster-sized revenues and approval rates higher than those for small-molecule drugs, that all may be set to change.
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            Germline transmission of genetically modified primordial germ cells.

            Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are the precursors of sperm and eggs. In most animals, segregation of the germ line from the somatic lineages is one of the earliest events in development; in avian embryos, PGCs are first identified in an extra-embryonic region, the germinal crescent, after approximately 18 h of incubation. After 50-55 h of development, PGCs migrate to the gonad and subsequently produce functional sperm and oocytes. So far, cultures of PGCs that remain restricted to the germ line have not been reported in any species. Here we show that chicken PGCs can be isolated, cultured and genetically modified while maintaining their commitment to the germ line. Furthermore, we show that chicken PGCs can be induced in vitro to differentiate into embryonic germ cells that contribute to somatic tissues. Retention of the commitment of PGCs to the germ line after extended periods in culture and after genetic modification combined with their capacity to acquire somatic competence in vitro provides a new model for developmental biology. The utility of the model is enhanced by the accessibility of the avian embryo, which facilitates access to the earliest stages of development and supplies a facile route for the reintroduction of PGCs into the embryonic vasculature. In addition, these attributes create new opportunities to manipulate the genome of chickens for agricultural and pharmaceutical applications.
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              Production of pharmaceutical proteins by transgenic animals

              Proteins started being used as pharmaceuticals in the 1920s with insulin extracted from pig pancreas. In the early 1980s, human insulin was prepared in recombinant bacteria and it is now used by all patients suffering from diabetes. Several other proteins and particularly human growth hormone are also prepared from bacteria. This success was limited by the fact that bacteria cannot synthesize complex proteins such as monoclonal antibodies or coagulation blood factors which must be matured by post-translational modifications to be active or stable in vivo. These modifications include mainly folding, cleavage, subunit association, γ-carboxylation and glycosylation. They can be fully achieved only in mammalian cells which can be cultured in fermentors at an industrial scale or used in living animals. Several transgenic animal species can produce recombinant proteins but presently two systems started being implemented. The first is milk from farm transgenic mammals which has been studied for 20 years and which allowed a protein, human antithrombin III, to receive the agreement from EMEA (European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products) to be put on the market in 2006. The second system is chicken egg white which recently became more attractive after essential improvement of the methods used to generate transgenic birds. Two monoclonal antibodies and human interferon-β1a could be recovered from chicken egg white. A broad variety of recombinant proteins were produced experimentally by these systems and a few others. This includes monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, blood factors, hormones, growth factors, cytokines, enzymes, milk proteins, collagen, fibrinogen and others. Although these tools have not yet been optimized and are still being improved, a new era in the production of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins was initiated in 1987 and became a reality in 2006. In the present review, the efficiency of the different animal systems to produce pharmaceutical proteins are described and compared to others including plants and micro-organisms.

                Author and article information

                BMC Biotechnol
                BMC Biotechnology
                BioMed Central
                14 January 2011
                : 11
                : 5
                [1 ]Health Research Institute, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, 1-8-31, Midorioka, Ikeda, Osaka 563-8577, Japan
                [2 ]Department of Chemistry, Korea University, Seoul, 136-701, Korea
                [3 ]Gene Expression Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA, 92037, USA
                [4 ]Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Dr. Aiguader, 88, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
                Copyright ©2011 Oishi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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