Pathogen Infection in Living Models

The firefly luciferase gene has been transiently and stably expressed in mammalian organisms for a variety of purposes [52-54, 61-64]. It has been used to follow up bacterial infections in model animals using Streptococcus, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus strains and mycobacterial infections such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis [64-67]. Bioluminescent Candida albicans strains also have been engineered with the firefly luciferase gene to follow the course of infections in living mice models. Similar studies have been done using viral infections such as herpes (HSV) [57] and adenovirus [56]. Transgenic mice containing viral promoter fusions such as HTMLV have been developed and tested to study the range of tissues and cells that are capable of supporting viral expression. HIV infection can be followed by real-time imaging in mammalian cell cultures and in live animals. Assays for HIV using a plasmid that contains the firefly luciferase gene under the control of a viral promoter have been developed [63, 68]. Transgenic mice containing the LTR promoter of HIV fused to the firefly luciferase gene were produced as a useful model to study in vivo regulation of viral gene expression [69].

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