A novel T7 RNA polymerase autogene for efficient cytoplasmic expression of target genes

M. Brisson, Yukai He, S. Li, J. P. Yang, L. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Inefficient nuclear transport of plasmid DNA continues to be a problem in nonviral vector-mediated gene transfer. This has made the cytoplasmic expression system an increasingly attractive idea. We have developed a new T7 RNA polymerase autogene for cytoplasmic expression containing both a CMV and a T7 promoter. The pCMV/T7-T7pol autogene does not encounter the problems associated with previously used autogenes. For instance, pCMV/T7-T7pol is easily amplified and purified from bacteria. Furthermore, the CMV promoter is used to drive the first round of synthesis of T7 RNA polymerase, thus negating the use of purified enzyme in the transfection complex. The endogenous T7 RNA polymerase produced from the CMV promoter could then act on the T7 promoter of pCMV/T7-T7pol in an autoregulatory mechanism. pCMV/T7-T7pol induces higher, more sustained levels (> 7 days) of reporter gene expression than that observed with the previously used autogene pT7 AUTO 2C- or with the nuclear expression system pCMV-CAT. This seems to be due to the high levels of T7 RNA polymerase protein that are detected in cells transfected with pCMV/T7-T7pol. This vector also functions as an efficient autogene since at least 50 times more mRNA is transcribed from the cytoplasmic T7 promoter as compared with the nuclear CMV promoter in pCMV/T7-T7pol. Therefore, pCMV/T7-T7pol could replace existing autogenes for regeneration of T7 RNA polymerase and efficient target gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Autogene
  • Cytoplasmic expression
  • Gene therapy
  • T7 RNA polymerase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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