Retroviral vectors for establishing tetracycline-regulated gene expression in an otherwise recalcitrant cell line

Paraic A. Kenny, Tariq Enver, Alan Ashworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Tetracycline-regulated systems have been used to control the expression of heterologous genes in such diverse organisms as yeast, plants, flies and mice. Adaptation of this prokaryotic regulatory system avoids many of the problems inherent in other inducible systems. There have, however, been many reports of difficulties in establishing functioning stable cell lines due to the cytotoxic effects of expressing high levels of the tetracycline transactivator, tTA, from a strong viral promoter. Results: Here we report the successful incorporation of tetracycline-mediated gene expression in a mouse mammary epithelial cell line, HC11, in which conventional approaches failed. We generated retroviruses in which tTA expression was controlled by one of three promoters: a synthetic tetracycline responsive promoter (TRE), the elongation factor 1-alpha promoter (EF1α) or the phosphoglycerate kinase-1 promoter (PGK), and compared the resulting cell lines to one generated using a cytomegalovirus immediate early gene promoter (CMV). In contrast to cells produced using the CMV and PGK promoters, those produced using the EF1α and TRE promoters expressed high levels of β-galactosidase in a tetracycline-dependent manner. Conclusions: These novel retroviral vectors performed better than the commercially available system and may have a more general utility in similarly recalcitrant cell lines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalBMC Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Sep 3 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Doxycycline
  • Inducible expression
  • Retroviral vectors
  • Tetracyline
  • Transgenics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology


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