Efficient method for expressing transgenes in nonhuman primate embryos using a stable episomal vector

Michael J. Wolfgang, Vivienne S. Marshall, Stephen G. Eisele, Michele L. Schotzko, James A. Thomson, Thaddeus G. Golos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transgenesis in the nonhuman primate can enhance the study of human biology by providing animal models for the study of primate-specific physiology, pathophysiology, and embryonic development. Progress with this technology has been hindered by the inherent inefficiency of transgenesis, transgene silencing, and practical restrictions on the production of sufficient pronuclear stage nonhuman primate zygotes. We have developed a novel technique using an Epstein Barr virus (EBV)-based episomal vector to produce rhesus monkey (Macaca mulatta) embryos expressing a transgene. Plasmid DNA containing the latent origin of replication, oriP, and Epstein Barr Nuclear Antigen-1 (EBNA-1) of EBV, as well as a CMV IE-enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) expression cassette, was introduced into rhesus embryos by direct pronuclear microinjection. We detected eGFP in early cleavage stage embryos (4-8 cell) and throughout the duration of culture (day 8-9 blastocysts) by epifluorescent microscopy. A 50% transduction rate was obtained with the EBV-based vector. Microinjected embryos expressed eGFP and retained their developmental capacity as evidenced by development to the blastocyst stage. EBV-based vectors present a novel and efficient means of delivering transgenes for the study of the molecular control of primate embryonic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-73
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular reproduction and development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Epstein-barr virus
  • IVF
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Transgenic
  • implantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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