Indexed on: 05 Jul '12Published on: 05 Jul '12Published in: PloS one
Targeted induction of double-strand breaks (DSBs) at natural endogenous loci was shown to increase the rate of gene replacement by homologous recombination in mouse embryonic stem cells. The gene encoding dopachrome tautomerase (Dct) is specifically expressed in melanocytes and their precursors. To construct a genetic tool allowing the replacement of Dct gene by any gene of interest, we generated an embryonic stem cell line carrying the recognition site for the yeast I-SceI meganuclease embedded in the Dct genomic segment. The embryonic stem cell line was electroporated with an I-SceI expression plasmid, and a template for the DSB-repair process that carried sequence homologies to the Dct target. The I-SceI meganuclease was indeed able to introduce a DSB at the Dct locus in live embryonic stem cells. However, the level of gene targeting was not improved by the DSB induction, indicating a limited capacity of I-SceI to mediate homologous recombination at the Dct locus. These data suggest that homologous recombination by meganuclease-induced DSB may be locus dependent in mammalian cells.