Reliable and inexpensive expression of large, tagged, exogenous proteins in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages using a second generation lentiviral system
Over the past two decades, researchers have struggled to efficiently express foreign DNA in primary macrophages, impeding research progress. The applications of lipofection, electroporation, microinjection, and viral-mediated transfer typically result in disruptions in macrophage differentiation and function, low expression levels of exogenous proteins, limited efficiency and high cell mortality. In this report, after extensive optimization, we present a method of expressing large tagged proteins at high efficiency, consistency, and low cost using lentiviral infection. This method utilizes laboratory-propagated second generation plasmids to produce efficient virus that can be stored for later use. The expression of proteins up to 150 kDa in size is achieved in 30–70% of cells while maintaining normal macrophage differentiation and morphology as determined by fluorescence microscopy and Western blot analysis. This manuscript delineates the reagents and methods used to produce lentivirus to express exogenous DNA in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages sufficient for single cell microscopy as well as functional assays requiring large numbers of murine bone marrow-derived macrophages.
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