The present study was performed to develop a culture system for feather keratinocyte stem cells to enable the genetic manipulation of endangered avian species. The feather follicle cells were isolated from growing feathers of adult White Leghorn chicken. Leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) was used to maintain the characterization of the keratinocyte colony-forming cells (KCFCs). The EGFPN1 plasmid DNA retroviral vector was used to deliver Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) gene, which was introduced to the KCFCs by lipofection. After removal of the fibroblast-like cells, the feather KCFCs attached to the substrate within 24 h of seeding. The cells continued to proliferate for at least 30 days in the presence of LIF. The cell-adhesion molecules such as integrin β1 and CD49c were immunocytochemically positive in the cells. The KCFCs differentiated into barbular cells and pennaceous feather vane in the LIF-free medium. The GFP gene-transfected KCFCs stably expressed GFP. The present results indicate that the KCFCs derived from feather follicles are closely related to multipotent stem cells. In addition, gene manipulation of such stem cells may be useful for the production of chimera in avian species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology