Germline transgenic pigs by Sleeping Beauty transposition in porcine zygotes and targeted integration in the pig genome


  • W. Garrels
  • L. Mates
  • S. Holler
  • A. Dalda
  • U. Taylor
  • B. Petersen
  • H. Niemann
  • Z. Izsvak
  • Z. Ivics
  • W.A. Kues


  • PLoS ONE


  • PLoS ONE 6 (8): e23573


  • Genetic engineering can expand the utility of pigs for modeling human diseases, and for developing advanced therapeutic approaches. However, the inefficient production of transgenic pigs represents a technological bottleneck. Here, we assessed the hyperactive Sleeping Beauty (SB100X) transposon system for enzyme-catalyzed transgene integration into the embryonic porcine genome. The components of the transposon vector system were microinjected as circular plasmids into the cytoplasm of porcine zygotes, resulting in high frequencies of transgenic fetuses and piglets. The transgenic animals showed normal development and persistent reporter gene expression for >12 months. Molecular hallmarks of transposition were confirmed by analysis of 25 genomic insertion sites. We demonstrate germ-line transmission, segregation of individual transposons, and continued, copy number-dependent transgene expression in F1-offspring. In addition, we demonstrate target-selected gene insertion into transposon-tagged genomic loci by Cre-loxP-based cassette exchange in somatic cells followed by nuclear transfer. Transposase-catalyzed transgenesis in a large mammalian species expands the arsenal of transgenic technologies for use in domestic animals and will facilitate the development of large animal models for human diseases.