Mammalian Artificial Chromosomes (MACs)


By analogy with yeast artificial chromosomes, a mammalian artificial chromosome (MAC) would be a molecule of defined structure comprising combinations of various cloned or synthesized chromosomal elements that had been individually manipulated, tested and optimized as part of a controlled construction process. De novo human chromosomes have been produced through cell‐mediated assembly processes and these, together with minichromosomes generated by manipulating existing chromosomes, are providing the basis for developing the first MAC‐based vectors for use in vertebrate cells.

Keywords: minichromosome; α‐satellite; epigenetics; telomere; origin

Figure 1.

Two main approaches used to generate mammalian chromosome‐based vector systems. In the bottom‐up approach, artificial human chromosomes have been formed de novo by introducing, into human HT1080 cells, cloned centromeric α‐satellite DNA. In the top‐down approach, defined minichromosomes have been generated in cultured cells by chromosome truncation mediated by integrating telomeric DNA into chromosome arms.



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Further Reading

Auriche C, Carpani D, Conese M, et al. (2002) Functional human CFTR produced by a stable minichromosome. EMBO Journal of Reproductivity 3: 862–868.

Brown WRA, Mee PJ and Shen MH (2000) Artificial chromosomes: ideal vectors? Trends in Biotechnology 18: 218–223.

Grimes BR, Schindelhauer D, McGill NI, et al. (2001) Stable gene expression from a mammalian artificial chromosome. EMBO Journal of Reproductivity 2: 910–914.

Grimes BR, Rhoades AA and Willard HF (2002) Alpha‐satellite DNA and vector composition influence rates of human artificial chromosome formation. Molecular Therapy 5: 798–805.

Ikeno M, Inagaki H, Nagata K, et al. (2002) Generation of human artificial chromosomes expressing naturally controlled guanosine triphosphate cyclohydrolase 1 gene. Genes to Cells 7: 1021–1032.

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Warburton PE (1999) Making CENs of mammalian artificial chromosomes. Molecular Genetics and Metabolism 68: 152–160.

Willard HF (1998) Centromeres: the missing link in the development of human artificial chromosomes. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 8: 219–225.

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Farr, Christine J, and Spence, Jennifer M(Jan 2006) Mammalian Artificial Chromosomes (MACs). In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0005671]