The objective of the Tissue Culture Core is to provide cultured cell lines and purified genomic DNA samples to BCM-IDDRC investigators in support of translational research on disorders related to mental retardation and developmental disabilities.
Growth of primary and immortalized cell lines from affected individuals is crucial for studies on the molecular basis of mental retardation and the inborn errors of develop. Routine tissue culture represents a "special skill support" for a laboratory and the establishment of a core facility for the development, maintenance and provision of cultured cells to a number of investigators committed to research on these diseases is a cost-effective use of manpower and resources.
Studies on the molecular basis of inherited disease using state-of-the-art genomic and proteomic techniques entail the use of cell lines cultured from individual cases and family-based controls. This core represents a central tissue culture facility for the establishment, maintenance and long-term storage of skin fibroblasts and lymphoblastoid cell lines for investigators involved in the BCM-IDDRC. This facility provides the following services to the investigators:
- Whole blood samples obtained from cases with mental retardation and other developmental disabilities and/or members of their families are used to establish EBV-transformed B-lymphoblastoid cell lines, the core facility assigns a specific number to each sample, stores the cultures appropriately, and/or returns the cell lines to investigators as they request;
- Receive primary fibroblasts, somatic cell hybrids or any specific cell-type culture for growth and long-term storage as above.
- Prepare specified quantities of cells from the cultures from (i) and (ii) above for DNA, RNA, protein or other biochemical/cytogenetic analysis as needed
- Have cultures periodically checked for mycoplasma contamination
- Obtain certain cell lines commonly used in molecular biological research such as HeLa cells, retrovirus vector packaging cell lines and tissue-specific cell lines to have available as needed. A critical service of the Core laboratory is the maintenance of a comprehensive database representing all cell line submissions in the history of the core. These samples are an invaluable resource for future research on the etiology and pathophysiology of mental retardation and other inborn errors of development.
The core also coordinates the distribution and sharing of all samples to other investigators studying various mental retardation and developmental disorders. The database maintains the following fields for each sample submission:
- Patient Information
- Cell line
- Freezer box
- Freezer vial
- Stock information
- Liquid Nitrogen vial
Significant precautions are taken to maintain confidentiality of these records including password protection and standard BCM firewalls.
John Belmont, M.D., Ph.D.