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Retroviral transduction models of Ph+ leukemia: advantages and limitations for modeling human hematological malignancies in mice.


There are two commonly used approaches to modeling human leukemia in mice: generation of mutant mice by traditional transgenic or knock-out/knock-in methods and retroviral bone marrow transduction and transplantation. For modeling leukemia, the retroviral model system has some distinct advantages over transgenic mice. Testing different forms and mutants of a given oncogene is much easier with the retroviral system and avoids the potential deleterious effects of expression of a transgene in nonhematopoietic tissues and during development. The retroviral provirus serves as a clonal marker of a transduced cell, facilitating analysis of clonality and transplantability of the malignancy. Finally, the retroviral system allows the assessment of the action of an oncogene in different subsets of hematopoietic precursor cells in the bone marrow, which is difficult or impossible with transgenic models. This article summarizes recent progress in modeling human Philadelphia-positive leukemia in mice with the retroviral bone marrow transduction/transplantation system and emphasizes the advantages and limitations of this approach with examples from the BCR-ABL leukemogenesis literature.

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