J Mol Neurosci 2004;24(1):23
Chamblin, B; Koentgen, F; McMahon, L; Nair, A; Ramabhadran, R.; Shaughnessy, L; Thomas, MB; Wakefield, J
Tranzyme, Inc., Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.
Development of therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease (AD) requires appropriate cell culture models that reflect the errant biochemical pathways and animal models that reflect the pathological hallmarks of the disease as well as the clinical manifestations. In the past two decades AD research has benefited significantly from the use of genetically engineered cell lines expressing components of the amyloid-generating pathway, as well as from the study of transgenic mice that develop the pathological hallmarks of the disease, mainly neuritic plaques. The choice of certain cell types and the choice of mouse as the model organism have been mandated by the feasibility of introduction and expression of foreign genes into these model systems. We describe a universal and efficient gene-delivery system, using lentiviral vectors, that permits the development of relevant cell biological systems using neuronal cells, including primary neurons and animal models in mammalian species best suited for the study of AD. In addition, lentiviral gene delivery provides avenues for creation of novel models by direct and prolonged expression of genes in the brain in any vertebrate animal. TranzVector is a lentiviral vector optimized for efficiency and safety that delivers genes to cells in culture, in tissue explants, and in live animals regardless of the dividing or differentiated status of the cells. Genes can also be delivered efficiently to fertilized single-cell-stage embryos of a wide range of mammalian species, broadening the range of the model organism (from rats to nonhuman primates) for the study of disease mechanism as well as for development of therapeutics.