[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The agouti protein is a paracrine factor that is normally present in the skin of many species of mammals. Agouti regulates the switch between black and yellow hair pigmentation by signalling through the melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r) on melanocytes. Lethal yellow (Ay) and viable yellow (Avy) are dominant regulatory mutations in the mouse agouti gene that cause the wild-type protein to be produced at abnormally high levels throughout the body. Mice harboring these mutations exhibit a pleiotropic syndrome characterized by yellow coat color, obesity, hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and increased susceptibility to hyperplasia and carcinogenesis in numerous tissues, including the liver. The goal of this research was to determine if ectopic expression of the agouti gene in the liver alone is sufficient to recapitulate any aspect of this syndrome. For this purpose, we generated lines of transgenic mice expressing high levels of agouti in the liver under the regulatory control of the albumin promoter. Expression levels of the agouti transgene in the liver were quantified by Northern blot analysis. Functional agouti protein in the liver of transgenic mice was assayed by its ability to inhibit binding of the alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alphaMSH) to the Mc1r. Body weight, plasma insulin and blood glucose levels were analyzed in control and transgenic mice. Control and transgenic male mice were given a single intraperitoneal injection (10 mg/kg) of the hepatocellular carcinogen, diethylnitrosamine (DEN), at 15 days of age. Mice were euthanized at 36 or 40 weeks after DEN injection and the number of tumors per liver and total liver weights were recorded.
The albumin-agouti transgene was expressed at high levels in the livers of mice and produced a functional agouti protein. Albumin-agouti transgenic mice had normal body weights and normal levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin, but responded to chemical initiation of the liver with an increased number of liver tumors compared to non-transgenic control mice.
The data demonstrate that liver-specific expression of the agouti gene is not sufficient to induce obesity or diabetes, but, in the absence of these factors, agouti continues to promote hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
Molecular Cancer 07/2004; 3:17. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tg737 mutant mice exhibit pathologic conditions in numerous tissues along with skeletal patterning defects. Herein, we characterize the skeletal pathologic conditions and confirm a role for Tg737 in skeletal patterning through transgenic rescue. Analyses were conducted in both the hypomorphic Tg737(orpk) allele that results in duplication of digit one and in the null Tg737(delta2-3betaGal) allele that is an embryonic lethal mutation exhibiting eight digits per limb. In early limb buds, Tg737 expression is detected throughout the mesenchyme becoming concentrated in precartilage condensations at later stages. In situ analyses indicate that the Tg737(orpk) mutant limb defects are not associated with changes in expression of Shh, Ihh, HoxD11-13, Patched, BMPs, or Glis. Likewise, in Tg737(delta2-3betaGal) mutant embryos, there was no change in Shh expression. However, in both alleles, Fgf4 was ectopically expressed on the anterior apical ectodermal ridge. Collectively, the data argue for a dosage effect of Tg737 on the limb phenotypes and that the polydactyly is independent of Shh misexpression.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Disclosed are methods and compositions comprising novel agouti polypeptides and the polynucleotides which encode them. Also disclosed are DNA segments encoding these proteins derived from human and murine cell lines, and the use of these polynucleotides and polypeptides in a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Methods, compositions, kits, and devices are also provided for identifying compounds which are inhibitors of agouti activity, and for altering fatty acid synthetase activity and intracellular calcium levels in transformed cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Agouti is a paracrine-acting, transient antagonist of melanocortin 1 receptors that specifies the subapical band of yellow on otherwise black hairs of the wild-type coat. To better understand both agouti structure/function and the germline damage caused by chemicals and radiation, an allelic series of 25 recessive, homozygous-viable agouti mutations generated in specific-locus tests were characterized. Visual inspection of fur, augmented by quantifiable chemical analysis of hair melanins, suggested four phenotypic categories (mild, moderate, umbrous-like, severe) for the 18 hypomorphs and a single category for the 7 amorphs (null). Molecular analysis indicated protein-coding alterations in 8 hypomorphs and 6 amorphs, with mild-moderate phenotypes correlating with signal peptide or basic domain mutations, and more devastating phenotypes resulting from C-terminal lesions. Ten hypomorphs and one null demonstrated wild-type coding potential, suggesting that they contain mutations elsewhere in the > or = 125-kb agouti locus that either reduce the level or alter the temporal/spatial distribution of agouti transcripts. Beyond the notable contributions to the field of mouse germ cell mutagenesis, analysis of this allelic series illustrates that complete abrogation of agouti function in vivo occurs most often through protein-coding lesions, whereas partial loss of function occurs slightly more frequently at the level of gene expression control.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Oak Ridge polycystic kidney (orpk) mutant mouse model resulted from a transgene insertion into the Tg737 gene and exhibits a pleiotropic syndrome with lesions in the kidney, liver, and pancreas. We found marked differences in the phenotypic expression of the orpk mutation when bred on different genetic backgrounds. In the FVB/N background, the phenotype is very severe for kidney, pancreas, and liver lesions. To evaluate better how genetic background might influence the expressivity of the orpk phenotype, we bred the transgene into the C3HeB/FeJLe (C3H) genetic background. We performed a genome-wide scan using backcross and intercross populations with more than 150 markers to map the chromosomal location of the modifier genes that differ in the FVB/N and C3H genetic backgrounds that affect the severity of kidney disease in the orpk mouse. Low-resolution interval mapping was performed using the Map Manager QTb program, with the interval explaining a significant portion of the variance being the distal end of chromosome 4.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have determined the molecular basis for Usher syndrome type 1F (USH1F) in two families segregating for this type of syndromic deafness. By fluorescence in situ hybridization, we placed the human homolog of the mouse protocadherin Pcdh15 in the linkage interval defined by the USH1F locus. We determined the genomic structure of this novel protocadherin, and found a single-base deletion in exon 10 in one USH1F family and a nonsense mutation in exon 2 in the second. Consistent with the phenotypes observed in these families, we demonstrated expression of PCDH15 in the retina and cochlea by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. This report shows that protocadherins are essential for maintenance of normal retinal and cochlear function.
Human Molecular Genetics 09/2001; 10(16):1709-18. · 7.69 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously determined that Protocadherin 15 (Pcdh15) is associated with the Ames waltzer mutation in the mouse. Here we describe where the Pcdh15 gene is expressed at specific times during mouse development using RNA in situ hybridization. The expression of Pcdh15 is found in the sensory epithelium in the developing inner ear, in Rathke's pouch, and broadly throughout the brain with the highest level of expression being detected at embryonic day 16 (E16). Pcdh15 transcripts are also found in the developing eye, dorsal root ganglion, and the dorsal aspect of the neural tube, floor plate and ependymal cells adjacent to the neural canal. Additionally, expression is also detected in the developing glomeruli of the kidney, surface of the tongue, vibrissae, bronchi of the lung, and in the epithelium of the olfactory apparatus, gut and lung.
Mechanisms of Development 08/2001; 105(1-2):163-6. · 2.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuroepithelia of the inner ear contain hair cells that function as mechanoreceptors to transduce sound and motion signals. Mutations affecting these neuroepithelia cause deafness and vestibular dysfuction in humans. Ames waltzer (av) is a recessive mutation found in mice that causes deafness and a balance disorder associated with the degeneration of inner ear neuroepithelia. Here we report that the gene that harbours the av mutation encodes a novel protocadherin. Cochlear hair cells in the av mutants show abnormal stereocilia by 10 days after birth (P10). This is the first evidence for the requirement of a protocadherin for normal function of the mammalian inner ear.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This report presents new findings regarding a recessive insertional mutation in the transgenic line TgN2742Rpw that causes deafness and circling behavior in mice homozygous for the mutation. The mutant locus was mapped to a region on mouse chromosome 10 close to three spontaneous recessive mutations causing deafness: Ames waltzer (av), Waltzer (v), and Jackson circler (jc). Complementation testing revealed that the TgN2742Rpw mutation is allelic with av. Histological and auditory brainstem response (ABR) evaluation of animals that have the new allele balanced with the av(J) allele (called compound heterozygotes, TgN2742Rpw/av(J)) supports our genetic analysis. ABR evaluation shows complete absence of auditory response throughout the life span of TgN2742Rpw/av(J) compound heterozygotes. Scanning electron microscopy revealed abnormalities of inner and outer hair cell stereocilia in the cochleae of TgN2742Rpw mutants at 10 days after birth (DAB). The organ of Corti subsequently undergoes degeneration, leading to nearly complete loss of the cochlear neuroepithelium in older mutants by about 50 DAB. The vestibular neuroepithelia remain morphologically normal until at least 30 DAB. However, by 50 days, degenerative changes are evident in the saccular macula, which progresses to total loss of the saccular neuroepithelium in older animals. The new allele of av reported here will be designated av(TgN2742Rpw).
Hearing Research 11/2000; 148(1-2):181-91. · 2.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous are congenital ocular anomalies that can lead to cataract formation. A line of insertional mutant mice, TgN3261Rpw, generated at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in a large-scale insertional mutagenesis program was found to have a low incidence (8/243; 3.29%) of multiple developmental ocular abnormalities. The ocular abnormalities include persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous, persistent hyperplastic tunica vasculosa lentis, failure of cleavage of the anterior segment, retrolental fibrovascular membrane, posterior polar cataract, and detached retina. This transgenic mouse line provides an ontogenetic model because of the high degree of similarity of this entity in humans, dogs, and mice.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of several mutations in the mouse is providing useful insights into the nature of the genes required for the establishment of the left-right axis during early development. Here we describe a new targeted allele of the mouse Tg737 gene, Tg737(Delta)2-3(beta)Gal), which causes defects in left-right asymmetry and other abnormalities during embryogenesis. The Tg737 gene was originally identified based on its association with the mouse Oak Ridge Polycystic Kidney (orpk) insertional mutation, which causes polycystic kidney disease and other defects. Complementation tests between the original orpk mutation and the new targeted knock-out mutation demonstrate that Tg737(Delta)2-3(beta)Gal) behaves as an allele of Tg737. The differences in the phenotype between the two mutations suggest that the orpk mutation is a hypomorphic allele of the Tg737 gene. Unlike the orpk allele, where all homozygotes survive to birth, embryos homozygous for the Tg737(Delta)2-3(beta)Gal) mutation arrest in development at mid-gestation and exhibit neural tube defects, enlargement of the pericardial sac and, most notably, left-right asymmetry defects. At mid-gestation the direction of heart looping is randomized, and at earlier stages in development lefty-2 and nodal, which are normally expressed asymmetrically, exhibit symmetrical expression in the mutant embryos. Additionally, we determined that the ventral node cells in mutant embryos fail to express the central cilium, which is a characteristic and potentially functional feature of these cells. The expression of both Shh and Hnf3(beta) is downregulated in the midline at E8.0, indicating that there are significant alterations in midline development in the Tg737(Delta)2-3(beta)Gal) homozygous embryos. We propose that the failure of ventral node cells to fully mature alters their ability to undergo differentiation as they migrate out of the node to contribute to the developing midline structures. Analysis of this new knockout allele allows us to define a critical role for the Tg737 gene during early embryogenesis. We have named the product of the Tg737 gene Polaris, which is based on the various polarity related defects associated with the different alleles of the Tg737 gene.
Development 07/2000; 127(11):2347-55. · 6.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability to generate mutations is a prerequisite to functional genetic analysis. Despite a long history of using mice as a model system for genetic analysis, the scientific community has not generated a comprehensive collection of multiple alleles for most mouse genes. The chemical mutagen of choice for mouse has been N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU), an alkylating agent that mainly causes base substitutions in DNA, and therefore allows for recovery of complete and partial loss-, as well as gain-, of-function alleles . Specific locus tests designed to detect recessive mutations showed that ENU is the most efficient mutagen in mouse with an approximate mutation rate of 1 in 1,000 gametes. In fact, several genome-wide and region-specific screens based on phenotypes have been carried out. The anticipation of the completion of the human and mouse genome projects, however, now emphasizes genotype-driven genetics--from sequence to mutants. To take advantage of the mutagenicity of ENU and its ability to create allelic series of mutations, we have developed a complementary approach to generating mutations using mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. We show that a high mutation frequency can be achieved and that modulating DNA-repair activities can enhance this frequency. The treated cells retain germline competency, thereby rendering this approach applicable for efficient generation of an allelic series of mutations pivotal to a fine-tuned dissection of biological pathways.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A human homolog(RALY) of the mouse Raly gene was isolated and sequenced, and shown to encode a novel protein isoform containing a 16 amino acid in-frame insert in the variable region of the protein. Analysis of the corresponding region of the mouse Raly gene demonstrated that this novel protein isoform is also present in the mouse. Comparative analysis of RALY cDNA and EST sequences suggests the presence of additional alternatively processed RALY transcripts. As in the mouse, the human RALY gene is widely expressed as a 1.7-kb transcript.
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/1999; 1447(1):107-12. · 4.66 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This article describes a new recessive insertional mutation in the transgenic line TgN2742Rpw that causes deafness and circling behavior in mice. Histologic analysis revealed virtually complete loss of the cochlear neuroepithelium (the organ of Corti) in adult mutant mice. In association with the neuroepithelial changes, there is a dramatic reduction of the cochlear nerve supply. Adult mutants also show morphological defects of the vestibular apparatus, including degeneration of the saccular neuroepithelium and occasional malformation of utricular otoconia. Audiometric evaluations demonstrated that the mice displaying the circling phenotype are completely deaf. Molecular analysis of this mutant line revealed that the transgenic insertion occurred without creating a large deletion of the host DNA sequences. The mutant locus was mapped to a region on mouse chromosome 10, where other spontaneous, recessive mutations causing deafness in mice have been mapped.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic antagonism of melanocortin receptors by the paracrine-acting agouti gene product induces both yellow fur and a maturity-onset obesity syndrome in mice that ubiquitously express wild-type agouti. Functional analysis of agouti mutations in transgenic mice indicate that the cysteine-rich C terminus, signal peptide, and glycosylation site are required for agouti activity in vivo. In contrast, no biological activity has been ascribed to the conserved basic domain. To examine the functional significance of the agouti basic domain, the entire 29-aa region was deleted from the agouti cDNA, and the resulting mutation (agoutiDeltabasic) was expressed in transgenic mice under the control of the beta-actin promoter (BAPaDeltabasic). Three independent lines of BAPaDeltabasic transgenic mice all developed some degree of yellow pigment in the fur, indicating that the agoutiDeltabasic protein was functional in vivo. However, none of the BAPaDeltabasic transgenic mice developed completely yellow fur, obesity, hyperinsulinemia, or hyperglycemia. High levels of agoutiDeltabasic expression in relevant tissues exceeded the level of agouti expression in obese viable yellow mice, suggesting that suboptimal activity or synthesis of the agoutiDeltabasic protein, rather than insufficient RNA synthesis, accounts for the phenotype of the BAPaDeltabasic transgenic mice. These findings implicate a functional role for the agouti basic domain in vivo, possibly influencing the biogenesis of secreted agouti protein or modulating protein-protein interactions that contribute to effective antagonism of melanocortin receptors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/1999; 96(15):8579-84. · 9.74 Impact Factor