Biolistic transformation of animal tissue

Stephen A. Johnston, Mark Riedy, Michael J. De Vit, J. C. Sanford, Sandra McElligott, R. Sanders Willia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The biolistic technique transforms cells by bombardment with DNA-coated microprojectiles. It has been used to transform plants, microbes, and organelles. We adapted a standard Biolistic PDS-1000 device for use with animals and have successfully transformed tissues in live mice. The firefly luciferase gene was introduced into mouse skin and ear tissue. One day after transformation 344±74 and 1648±254 pg of luciferase were detected in skin and ear samples, respectively. Expression of the gene product was transient but detectable up to 7 days after bombardment. A further modification of the device allowed transient transformation of liver tissue in vivo. Liver contained 293±122 pg of luciferase 1 day postransformation. Expression of the gene in liver tissue was unchanged at Day 3 but declined to low levels by Day 5. This new device allowed a fourfold increase in gene expression in ear tissue extending a minimum of 14 days. This technology is applicable to a broad range of tissues and organs in situ and makes it possible to test numerous reporters and the tissue specificity of promoters. It may also be useful in protocols for somatic cell therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-14
Number of pages4
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • biolistic
  • gene transfer
  • somatic cell transformation
  • transfection, animal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science


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