[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: beta-Casein is a major protein component of milk and, in conjunction with the other caseins, it is assembled into micelles. The casein micelles determine many of the physical characteristics of milk, which are important for stability during storage and for milk-processing properties. There is evidence that suggests that beta-casein may also possess other, nonnutritional functions. To address the function of beta-casein, the mouse beta-casein gene was disrupted by gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. Homozygous beta-casein mutant mice are viable and fertile; females can lactate and successfully rear young. beta-Casein was expressed at a reduced level in heterozygotes and was completely absent from the milk of homozygous mutant mice. Despite the deficiency of beta-casein, casein micelles were assembled in heterozygous and homozygous mutants, albeit with reduced diameters. The absence of beta-casein expression was reflected in a reduced total protein concentration in milk, although this was partially compensated for by an increased concentration of other proteins. The growth of pups feeding on the milk of homozygous mutants was reduced relative to those feeding on the milk of wild-type mice. Various genetic manipulations of caseins have been proposed for the qualitative improvement of cow's milk composition. The results presented here demonstrate that beta-casein has no essential function and that the casein micelle is remarkably tolerant of changes in composition.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/1994; 91(13):6138-42. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have examined the effects of placing nonhomologous DNA on the ends of an insertion-type gene targeting vector. The presence of terminal heterologies was found to be compatible with insertion targeting, and the terminal heterologies were efficiently removed. Terminal heterologies reduced the frequency of gene targeting to variable extents. The degree of inhibition of targeting was dependent on the length and the position of the heterology: 2.1kb heterologous sequences were more inhibitory than shorter regions of heterology, and heterology placed on the end of the long (4.8kb) arm of homology was more inhibitory than heterology positioned on the end of the short (0.8kb) arm. When heterology was placed on both arms of the targeting vector the targeting efficiencies were similar to or higher than when heterology was present on the long arm only. These results suggest that terminal sequences are removed simultaneously from both ends of targeting vectors. The removal of terminal sequences probably occurs by exonucleolytic degradation of both strands at each end, and removal of at least one of the strands is intimately coupled with the process of homologous recombination. These findings have implications for the design of gene targeting vectors.
Nucleic Acids Research 05/1993; 21(7):1541-8. · 8.28 Impact Factor