We used ultrasound image-guided injections of high-titer retroviral vectors to obtain widespread introduction of genes into the mouse nervous system in utero as early as embryonic day 8.5 (E8.5). The vectors used included internal promoters that substantially improved proviral gene expression in the ventricular zone of the brain. To demonstrate the utility of this system, we extended our previous work in vitro by infecting the telencephalon in vivo as early as E8.5 with a virus expressing Sonic Hedgehog. Infected embryos showed gross morphological brain defects, as well as ectopic expression of ventral telencephalic markers characteristic of either the medial or lateral ganglionic eminences.
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