Establishment of primary cell lines from tissues of the red-eared slider

  • Maria Kulak Chromas Research Resource Center of Saint Petersburg State University Research Park, Oranienbaumskoye Shosse, 2, Stary Peterhof, Saint Petersburg, 198504, Russian Federation
  • Svetlana Galkina Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
  • Alsu Saifitdinova Department of Human and Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Moyka nab., 48, Saint Petersburg, 191186, Russian Federation
  • Elena Gaginskaya Department of Cytology and Histology, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaya nab., 7–9, Saint Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation


Primary cell lines of the red-eared slider were established from somatic slider tissues cultivated in appropriate medium for a certain period. Exponential cell growth started after 2 weeks of continuous cultivating. The cells were of various morphology resembling keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and melanocytes, some of them gathered to form dense conglomerates similar to so-called “embryoid bodies”. The cell lines were maintained for 3–7 passages before being taken for cytogenetic manipulations. Red-eared slider cell lines derived in this way can be cryopreserved and successfully recovered to provide a source of fixed cells for 3D imaging as well as a source of chromosomes and chromatin fiber preparations for cytological and cytogenetic studies. The protocol for red-eared slider cells was developed on the basis of the experiments described.


Trachemys scripta elegans, turtles, primary culture, explant


Download data is not yet available.


Bansal, S., Biggar, K. K., Krivoruchko, A., and Storey, K. B. 2016. Response of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway to oxygen deprivation in the red eared slider turtle, Trachemys scripta elegans. Gene 593(1):34–40.

Christiansen, J., Johnson, J., Henderson, E. R., Budke, B., and Lynch, M. 2001. The relationship between telomeres, telomerase, reptilian lifespan, and reptilian tissue regeneration. Proceedings of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium 1–10.

Czerwinski, M., Natarajan, A., Barske, L., Looger, L. L., and Capel, B. 2016. A timecourse analysis of systemic and gonadal effects of temperature on sexual development of the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta elegans. Developmental Biology 420(1):166–177.

Fukuda, T., Eitsuka, T., Donai, K., Kurita, M., Saito, T., Okamoto, H., Kinoshita, K., Katayama, M., Nitto, H., Uchida, T., Onuma, M., Sone, H., Inoue-Murayama, M., and Kiyono, T. 2018. Expression of human mutant cyclin dependent kinase 4, Cyclin D and telomerase extends the life span but does not immortalize fibroblasts derived from loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Scientific Reports 8(1):9229.

Fukuda, T., Katayama, M., Kinoshita, K., Kasugai, T., Okamoto, H., Kobayashi, K., Kurita, M., Soichi, M., Donai, K., Uchida, T., Onuma, M., Sone, H., Isogai, E., and Inoue-Murayama, M. 2014. Primary fibroblast cultures and karyotype analysis for the olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea). In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal 50(5):381–383.

Fukuda, T., Kurita, J., Saito, T., Yuasa, K., Kurita, M., Donai, K., Nitto, H., Soichi, M., Nishimori, K., Uchida, T., Isogai, E., Onuma, M., Sone, H., Oseko, N., and Inoue-Murayama, M. 2012. Efficient establishment of primary fibroblast cultures from the hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal 48(10):660–665.

Goldstein, S. 1974. Growth of cultured cells from the Galapagos tortoise. Experimental Cell Research 83:279–302.

Gomes, N. M., Shay, J. W., and Wright, W. E. 2010. Telomere biology in Metazoa. FEBS Letters 584(17):3741–3751.

Guo, H., Xia, Z., Tang, W., Mao, Z., Qian, G., and Wang, C. 2016. Establishment and characterization of a cell line from the Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal 52(6):673–682.

Hong, M., Jiang, A., Li, N., Li, W., Shi, H., Storey, K. B., and Ding, L. 2019. Comparative analysis of the liver transcriptome in the red-eared slider Trachemys scripta elegans under chronic salinity stress. PeerJ 21(7):e6538.

Lu, Y., Nerurkar, V. R., Aguirre, A. A., Work, T. M., Balazs, G. H., and Yanagihara, R. 1999. Establishment and characterization of 13 cell lines from a green turtle (Chelonia mydas) with fibropapillomas. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology - Animal 35(7):389–393.

Mahlin, M. D. 1997. Turtles in your home. 96 pp. Izdatelstvo Zoomarket, Moscow. (In Russian)

Mansell, J. L., Jacobson, E. R., and Gaskin, J. M. 1989. Initiation and ultrastructure of a reptilian fibroblast cell line obtained from cutaneous fibropapillomas of the green turtle, Chelonia mydas. In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology 25(11):1062–1064.

Paitz, R. T., Haussmann, M. F., Bowden, R. M., Janzen, F. J., and Vleck, C. M. 2015. Long telomeres may minimize the effect of aging in the Painted Turtle. Integrative and Comparative Biology 44(6):617.

Ramsey, M. and Crews, D. 2007. Steroid signaling and temperature-dependent sex determination-Reviewing the evidence for early action of estrogen during ovarian determination in turtles. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 20(3):283–92.

Ramsey, M. and Crews, D. 2009. Steroid signaling system responds differently to temperature and hormone manipulation in the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), a reptile with temperature-dependent sex determination. Sex Development 1(3):181–196.

Webb, S. J., Zychowski, G. V., Bauman, S. W., Higgins, B. M., Raudsepp, T., Gollahon, L. S., Wooten, K. J., Cole, J. M., and Godard-Codding, C. 2014. Establishment, characterization, and toxicological application of loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) primary skin fibroblast cell cultures. Environmental Science and Technology 48(24):14728–14737.

Xu, H., Zhu, X., Li, W., Tang, Z., Zhao, Y., and Wu, X. 2018. Isolation and in vitro culture of ovarian stem cells in Chinese soft-shell turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis). Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 119(9):7667–7677.

How to Cite
Kulak, M., Galkina, S., Saifitdinova, A., & Gaginskaya, E. (2020). Establishment of primary cell lines from tissues of the red-eared slider. Biological Communications, 64(4), 229–234.
Full communication