Permissiveness to Moloney Murine Leukemia Virus (MoMuLV) expression was examined during preimplantation and early postimplantation development of the mouse embryo. Blastocysts and 8th, 9th and 10th day postimplantation embryos were infected in vitro with a MoMuLV-based retroviral vector expressing the lacZ gene driven off an internal rat beta-actin promoter. Beta-galactosidase-positive cells were identified in all embryonic tissues including inner cell mass, epiblast, mesoderm, endoderm and definitive ectoderm. In contrast, embryos infected with a MoMuLV-based vector expressing the lacZ gene driven off the viral LTR showed beta-galactosidase-positive cells only in mesoderm and definitive ectoderm. We conclude that permissiveness to transcriptional activity of the LTR is acquired immediately upon differentiation of epiblast during gastrulation of the mouse embryo.

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