Tetracycline-regulated gene expression following direct gene transfer into mouse skeletal muscle
For most experimental and therapeutic applications of gene transfer, regulation of the timing and level of gene expression is preferable to constitutive gene expression. Among the systems that have been developed for pharmacologically controlled gene expression in mammalian cells, the bacterial tetracycline (tet)-responsive system has the advantage that it is dependent on a drug (tet) that is both highly specific and non-toxic. The tet-responsive system has been previously used to modulate expression of cell cycle regulatory proteins in cultured cells, reporter genes in plants and transgenic mice and reporter genes directly injected into the heart. Here we show that orally or parenterally administered tet regulates expression of tet-responsive plasmids injected directly into mouse skeletal muscle. Reporter gene expression was suppressed by two orders of magnitude in the presence of tet, and that suppression was reversed when tet was withdrawn. These data show that skeletal muscle offers an accessible and well characterized target tissue for tet-controlled expression of genesin vivo, suggesting applications to developmental studies and gene therapy.