[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Female carriers of X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) demonstrate variability in clinical phenotype that, unlike males, cannot be correlated with genotype. X-inactivation, the method by which females (XX) silence transcription from one X chromosome in order to achieve gene dosage parity with males (XY), likely modifies the carrier phenotype, but this hypothesis has not been tested directly.
Using a genetically defined mouse model of XLAS, we generated two groups of Alport female (Col4a5(+/-)) carriers that differed only in the X-controlling element (Xce) allele regulating X-inactivation. We followed the groups as far as 6 months of age comparing survival and surrogate outcome measures of urine protein and plasma urea nitrogen.
Preferential inactivation of the mutant Col4a5 gene improved survival and surrogate outcome measures of urine protein and plasma urea nitrogen. In studies of surviving mice, we found that X-inactivation in kidney, measured by allele-specific mRNA expression assays, correlated with surrogate outcomes.
Our findings establish X-inactivation as a major modifier of the carrier phenotype in X-linked Alport syndrome. Thus, X-inactivation patterns may offer prognostic information and point to possible treatment strategies for symptomatic carriers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) is a progressive disorder of basement membranes caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene, encoding the alpha5 chain of type IV collagen. A mouse model of this disorder was generated by targeting a human nonsense mutation, G5X, to the mouse Col4a5 gene. As predicted for a nonsense mutation, hemizygous mutant male mice are null and heterozygous carrier female mice are mosaic for alpha5(IV) chain expression. Mutant male mice and carrier female mice are viable through reproductive age and fertile. Mutant male mice died spontaneously at 6 to 34 wk of age, and carrier female mice died at 8 to 45 wk of age, manifesting proteinuria, azotemia, and progressive and manifold histologic abnormalities of the kidney glomerulus and tubulointerstitium. Ultrastructural abnormalities of the glomerular basement membrane, including lamellation and splitting, were characteristic of human XLAS. The mouse model described here recapitulates essential clinical and pathologic findings of human XLAS. With alpha5(IV) expression reflecting X-inactivation patterns, it will be especially useful in studying determinants of disease variability in the carrier state.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 07/2004; 15(6):1466-74. · 8.99 Impact Factor