This study presents a promising selection system for gene-modified cells other than human hematopoietic progenitor and endothelial cells based on transgenic expression of human CD34. Three retrovirally transduced variants of CD34 were compared, differing in the length of their cytoplasmic domains. These were the full-length transmembrane protein (flCD34), a truncated form (tCD34) that is found as a naturally occurring splice variant and has a partial deletion of the cytoplasmic domain for signal transduction, and an engineered variant which is completely deprived of its cytoplasmic tail (dCD34). All three variants allowed selection of gene-modified cells using commercially available immunoaffinity technology. However, examination by flow cytometry as well as by Southern, Northern, and Western blot revealed that dCD34, as opposed to tCD34, is not stably anchored in the membrane and thus is expressed at low levels on the surface of transduced cells. Therefore, tCD34 was chosen as the more promising candidate for a clinically applicable cell surface marker. We show that gene-modified human primary T lymphocytes expressing tCD34 can be enriched to high purity (>95%) using clinically approved immunoaffinity columns. In addition, we demonstrate the utility of tCD34 for surface marking of murine hematopoietic cells in vivo, including primary T lymphocytes detected 9 weeks after bone marrow transplantation.
Fehse, B., Richters, A., Putimtseva-Scharf, K., Klump, H., Li, Z., Ostertag, W., … Baum, C. (2000). CD34 splice variant: An attractive marker for selection of gene-modified cells. Molecular Therapy, 1(5), 448–456. https://doi.org/10.1006/mthe.2000.0068