Immortalized hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons.
The neuroendocrine hypothalamus has been intensively studied using whole animals and tissue slices. However, it has been difficult to approach questions at the molecular and cellular level. By targeting expression of the oncogene product, simian virus 40 T antigen, in transgenic mice using the regulatory domain of the rat gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) gene, we have produced specific hypothalamic tumours. These tumours have been cultured to produce clonal cell lines (GT-1 cells) that express T antigen, GnRH and many other neuronal markers, but do not express other hypothalamic hormones. These immortal cell lines have a distinctive neuronal phenotype, process the GnRH peptide accurately and secrete GnRH in a pulsatile pattern. Thus, by targeting oncogenesis to a defined population of neurons using the regulatory region of a gene that is expressed late in differentiation of that cell lineage, we have succeeded in immortalizing hypothalamic GnRH neurons. The GT-1 cell lines are an excellent model for future molecular, cell biological, physiological and biochemical investigations into the mechanisms involved in regulation of GnRH and the characteristics of an isolated central nervous system neuron. Their derivation demonstrates the utility of targeting tumorigenesis to specific differentiated neurons of the central nervous system in transgenic mice.
Mellon, PL; Wetsel, WC; Windle, JJ; Valença, MM; Goldsmith, PC; Whyte, DB; Eraly, SA; Negro-Vilar, A; Weiner, RI
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