Tissue Culture

Baylor College of Medicine Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Center
Tissue Culture

Center URL: https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/iddrc/
Core URL: http://mrrc.bcm.tmc.edu/cores/tissueculture.html

Core Personnel
Core Director: John Belmont, M.D., Ph.D.
Core Staff: Laura Molinari, Ph.D.

Core Keywords
Tissue Culture; Fibroblasts; Cytogenetic Analysis

Core Description

The objective of the Tissue Culture Core is to provide cultured cell lines to MRDDRC investigators to enhance their research efforts on disorders related to mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Growth of primary and immortalized cell lines from normal and diseased humans is crucial for studies on the molecular basis of mental retardation. 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 recombinant DNA techniques entail the use of cell lines cultured from individual patients and members of their extended pedigrees. 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 MRDDRC. This facility provides the following services to the investigators:

  1. Whole blood samples obtained from patients with mental retardation 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;
  2. receive primary fibroblasts, somatic cell hybrids or any specific cell-type culture for growth and long-term storage as above;
  3. prepare specified quantities of cells from the cultures from (1) and (2) above for DNA, RNA, protein or other biochemical/cytogenetic analysis as needed;
  4. have cultures periodically checked for mycoplasma contamination;
  5. 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. For example, the core has continued to store samples from patients with mental retardation for research in cases where the samples were originally obtained by former MRDD investigators whom have now left BCM. These investigators, as well as current MRDD investigators have chosen our facility because of the quality of the service and the expert care for these valuable cell lines.

The core also coordinates the distribution and sharing of all samples to other investigators studying various mental retardation and developmental syndromes. The database maintains the following fields for each sample submission: (1)Patient Information, (2) Patient-Disease, (3) Disease, (4) Patient-Investigator, (5) Cell line, (6) Freezer box, (7) Freezer vial, (8) Stock information, (9) Investigator, (10) Liquid Nitrogen vial.

Significant precautions are taken to maintain confidentiality of these records including password protection and standard BCM firewalls.

Last Edited: 03/10/06 12:00 AM by Evette Mezger