The SV40 large T-antigen has been widely used to convert various cell types to a transformed phenotype, and also to induce progressive tumours in transgenic animals. The objectives of this review are to compare and discuss three different approaches to generate epididymal epithelial cell lines using the large T-antigen. In the first approach, retroviral transfection of primary cultures was used to immortalize canine epididymal cells in vitro; the other two approaches used transgenic mice expressing the large T-antigen. In one of these in vivo approaches, a construct consisting of the coding sequence of a temperature sensitive (ts) SV40 large T-antigen was inserted in a mouse genome. When the cells are exposed to the permissive temperature of 33°C, functional expression of the large T-antigen occurs and cells start to proliferate. In the second in vivo approach a tissue-specific promoter, the 5kb GPX5 promoter, was used to direct expression of the large T-antigen to the epididymal duct epithelium.
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