The purpose of the Morphology Core Facility (MCF) is to provide molecular biology and histology services for all Projects in the SPIRAT. The MCF will interact with Projects I, II, and III in the development and evaluation of preclinical and clinical models of gene therapy protocols. In particular, we will process and analyze all tissue specimens, and we will perform studies to examine gene transfer and gene expression in these cells and tissues. We will analyze transfer of DNA, expression of mRNA and protein, and will determine gene expression. The studies provided by the MCF include: radiolabeling of probes, tissue preparation, fixation, embedding and sectioning; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization, autoradiography; routine staining and histology; and preparation of tissues for electron microscopy. The MCF has been developed by Dr. Elizabeth Nabel in her laboratory in room 3562-3564 in Medical Science Research Building II at the University of Michigan where facilities currently exist for molecular biology studies (vector and probe construction, PCR); routine tissue processing, fixation, embedding and sectioning; routine stains and histology; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization; and autoradiography. The MCF staff will consist of Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, Core Director; Dr. David Gordon, Core Co-Director; Mrs. Xu Ling; molecular biology technician; and Mrs. LingLing Xu, histology technician. This team has worked together for the past four years to establish a morphology facility for preclinical and clinical gene therapy studies. They have extensive experience in analyzing transfected cells and tissues for recombinant gene expression at the DNA, mRNA and protein levels. They have performed analysis of tissues of preclinical animal studies in mice, rats, rabbits, and pigs in preparation for three human gene therapy protocols which have been approved by the RAC and FDA, including an adult AIDS protocol. Hence, they have the experience and are qualified to assist the three Projects in the development and testing of vectors in cells and preclinical animal models of pediatric AIDS. The current morphology facility in Dr. Nabel's laboratory will be expanded in order to accommodate the molecular biology and histology needs of the projects. The MCF will be utilized by all three Projects to assess the protective effects of the Rev M10 gene in cultured cells and tissues, particularly in animal models. The goal of the Morphology Core is to provide high quality molecular biology and morphology services to these projects and to facilitate productive interaction between the investigators in the three projects.

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