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Direct separation of in vivo and in vitro am3 revertants in transgenic mice carrying the phiX174 am3, cs70 vector


Direct separation of in vivo and in vitro am3 revertants in transgenic mice carrying the phiX174 am3, cs70 vector



Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 37(4): 345-355



ISSN/ISBN: 0893-6692

PMID: 11424185

DOI: 10.1002/em.1042

Target genes in most transgenic systems have higher spontaneous mutation frequencies than do endogenous mammalian genes. Spontaneous mutations in transgenes predominantly arise from three sources: (1) mutations fixed in the animals, (2) mutations arising from replication errors caused by damage to the DNA that may have occurred in vivo or in vitro and then was fixed during amplification of the vector in vitro, and (3) mutations arising during replication of non-revertant phages in non-permissive bacteria. An assay based on single bursts was developed to directly distinguish between the in vivo and in vitro origins of revertants. The size of the aliquot is determined by mutant frequency and is adjusted so that ideally no more than 10 to 20% of the aliquots contain a bacterial cell transformed with a mutant phage. Mutations are detected as revertants of an amber mutation (am3) in phiX174 am3, cs70. The minimum burst size of non-revertant phiX am3, cs70 from splenic DNA on a permissive bacterial strain was larger than 30 plaque-forming units (pfu). Based on this observation, a burst size of 31 plaque-forming revertants was chosen as the minimum burst size of a fixed mutation. The single burst assay was tested on DNA from spleens of animals that were treated with 150 mg/kg 1-ethyl-1 nitrosurea. Only the fraction of aliquots with single bursts of revertants (> 30) increased in the treated animals compared to the controls. In contrast, there was no difference between treated and control animals for revertant frequencies calculated for burst sizes < or =30 pfu. Among the spontaneous mutations, only 30% were caused by mutations fixed in animals (i.e. burst size >30 pfu). Total average revertant frequency measured in DNA from treated animals was less than twofold more than the average spontaneous frequency (P = 0.048). When frequencies were based on burst sizes >30, there was a 4.6-fold increase among treated animals compared with controls (P = 0.026). The single burst-assay resulted in a more sensitive test for mutagenicity because it eliminated noise from in-vitro mutations.

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