[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Secreted frizzled-related protein 4 (SFRP4) is an extracellular regulator of the wingless-type MMTV integration site family (WNT) pathway. SFRP4 has been implicated in adipocyte dysfunction, obesity, insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion in patients with type 2 diabetes. However, the exact role of SFRP4 in regulating whole body metabolism and glucose homeostasis is unknown. We show here that male Sfrp4(-/-) mice have increased spine length and gain more weight when fed a high-fat diet. The body composition and body mass per spine length of diet-induced obese Sfrp4(-/-) mice is similar to wildtype littermates suggesting that the increase in body weight can be accounted for by their longer body size. The diet-induced obese Sfrp4(-/-) mice have reduced energy expenditure, food intake and bone mineral density. Sfrp4(-/-) mice have normal glucose and insulin tolerance and beta cell mass. Diet-induced obese Sfrp4(-/-) and control mice show similar impairments of glucose tolerance and a 5-fold compensatory expansion of their beta cell mass. In summary, our data suggest that loss of SFRP4 alters body length, bone mineral density as well as energy expenditure and food intake. However, SFRP4 does not control glucose homeostasis and beta cell mass in mice.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kir7.1 is an inwardly rectifying K + channel of the Kir superfamily encoded by the kcnj13 gene. Kir7.1 is present in epithelial tissues where it colocalizes with the Na + /K +-pump probably serving to recycle K + taken up by the pump. Human mutations affecting Kir7.1 are associated with retinal degeneration diseases. We generated a mouse lacking Kir7.1 by ablation of the Kcnj13 gene. Homozygous mutant null mice die hours after birth and show cleft palate and moderate retardation in lung development. Kir7.1 is expressed in the epithelium covering the palatal processes at the time at which palate sealing takes place and our results suggest it might play an essential role in late palatogenesis. Our work also reveals a second unexpected role in the development and the physiology of the respiratory system, where Kir7.1 is expressed in epithelial cells all along the respiratory tree.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Antagonizing glucagon action represents an attractive therapeutic option for reducing hepatic glucose production in settings of hyperglycemia where glucagon excess plays a key pathophysiological role. We therefore generated a fully human monoclonal antibody (REGN1193) that binds and inhibits glucagon receptor signaling in vitro. REGN1193 administration to diabetic ob/ob and diet-induced obese mice lowered blood glucose to levels observed in glucagon receptor deficient mice. In diet-induced obese mice, REGN1193 reduced food intake, adipose tissue mass and body weight. REGN1193 increased circulating levels of glucagon and glucagon-like peptide 1, and was associated with reversible expansion of pancreatic alpha cell area. Hyperglucagonemia and alpha cell hyperplasia was observed in fibroblast growth factor 21 deficient mice treated with REGN1193. Single administration of REGN1193 to diabetic cynomolgus monkeys normalized fasting blood glucose and glucose tolerance and increased circulating levels of glucagon and amino acids. Finally, administration of REGN1193 for 8 weeks to normoglycemic cynomolgus monkeys did not cause hypoglycemia or increase pancreatic alpha cell area. In summary, the glucagon receptor-blocking antibody REGN1193 normalizes blood glucose in diabetic mice and monkeys but does not produce hypoglycemia in normoglycemic monkeys. Thus, REGN1193 provides a potential therapeutic modality for diabetes mellitus and acute hyperglycemic conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In a survey of 20 knockout mouse lines designed to examine the biological functions of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs), we have found a variety of phenotypes, ranging from perinatal lethality to defects associated with premature aging and morphological and functional abnormalities in the lungs, skeleton, and muscle. Each mutant allele carried a lacZ reporter whose expression profile highlighted a wide spectrum of spatiotemporal and tissue-specific transcription patterns in embryos and adults that informed our phenotypic analyses and will serve as a guide for future investigations of these genes. Our study shows that lincRNAs are a new class of encoded molecules that, like proteins, serve essential and important functional roles in embryonic development, physiology, and homeostasis of a broad array of tissues and organs in mammals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G protein-coupled receptor 17 (GPR17) was recently reported to be a Foxo1 target in agouti-related peptide (AGRP) neurons. Intracerebroventricular injection of GPR17 agonists induced food intake, whereas administration of an antagonist to the receptor reduced feeding. These data lead to the conclusion that pharmacological modulation of GPR17 has therapeutic potential to treat obesity. Here we report that mice deficient in Gpr17 (Gpr17(-/-)) have similar food intake and body weight compared with their wild-type littermates. Gpr17(-/-) mice have normal hypothalamic Agrp mRNA expression, AGRP plasma levels, and metabolic rate. GPR17 deficiency in mice did not affect glucose homeostasis or prevent fat-induced insulin resistance. These data do not support a role for GPR17 in the control of food intake, body weight, or glycemic control.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite antiretroviral therapy (ART), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 persists in a stable latent reservoir, primarily in resting memory CD4(+) T cells. This reservoir presents a major barrier to the cure of HIV-1 infection. To purge the reservoir, pharmacological reactivation of latent HIV-1 has been proposed and tested both in vitro and in vivo. A key remaining question is whether virus-specific immune mechanisms, including cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), can clear infected cells in ART-treated patients after latency is reversed. Here we show that there is a striking all or none pattern for CTL escape mutations in HIV-1 Gag epitopes. Unless ART is started early, the vast majority (>98%) of latent viruses carry CTL escape mutations that render infected cells insensitive to CTLs directed at common epitopes. To solve this problem, we identified CTLs that could recognize epitopes from latent HIV-1 that were unmutated in every chronically infected patient tested. Upon stimulation, these CTLs eliminated target cells infected with autologous virus derived from the latent reservoir, both in vitro and in patient-derived humanized mice. The predominance of CTL-resistant viruses in the latent reservoir poses a major challenge to viral eradication. Our results demonstrate that chronically infected patients retain a broad-spectrum viral-specific CTL response and that appropriate boosting of this response may be required for the elimination of the latent reservoir.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Known examples of male to female sex reversal in mice are caused by either strain incompatibilities or mutations in genes required for male sex determination. The resultant XY females are often sterile or exhibit very poor fertility. We describe here embryonic stem (ES) cell growth conditions that promote the production of healthy, anatomically normal fertile and fecund female F0 generation mice completely derived from gene-targeted XY male ES cells. The sex reversal is a transient trait that is not transmitted to the F1 progeny. Growth media with low osmolality and reduced sodium bicarbonate, maintained throughout the gene targeting process, enhance the yield of XY females. As a practical application of the induced sex reversal, we demonstrate the generation of homozygous mutant mice ready for phenotypic studies by the breeding of F0 XY females with their isogenic XY male clonal siblings, thereby eliminating one generation of breeding and the associated costs.
No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Transgenic Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mice genetically engineered to be humanized for their Ig genes allow for human antibody responses within a mouse background (HumAb mice), providing a valuable platform for the generation of fully human therapeutic antibodies. Unfortunately, existing HumAb mice do not have fully functional immune systems, perhaps because of the manner in which their genetic humanization was carried out. Heretofore, HumAb mice have been generated by disrupting the endogenous mouse Ig genes and simultaneously introducing human Ig transgenes at a different and random location; KO-plus-transgenic humanization. As we describe in the companion paper, we attempted to make mice that more efficiently use human variable region segments in their humoral responses by precisely replacing 6 Mb of mouse Ig heavy and kappa light variable region germ-line gene segments with their human counterparts while leaving the mouse constant regions intact, using a unique in situ humanization approach. We reasoned the introduced human variable region gene segments would function indistinguishably in their new genetic location, whereas the retained mouse constant regions would allow for optimal interactions and selection of the resulting antibodies within the mouse environment. We show that these mice, termed VelocImmune mice because they were generated using VelociGene technology, efficiently produce human:mouse hybrid antibodies (that are rapidly convertible to fully human antibodies) and have fully functional humoral immune systems indistinguishable from those of WT mice. The efficiency of the VelocImmune approach is confirmed by the rapid progression of 10 different fully human antibodies into human clinical trials.
Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic humanization, which involves replacing mouse genes with their human counterparts, can create powerful animal models for the study of human genes and diseases. One important example of genetic humanization involves mice humanized for their Ig genes, allowing for human antibody responses within a mouse background (HumAb mice) and also providing a valuable platform for the generation of fully human antibodies as therapeutics. However, existing HumAb mice do not have fully functional immune systems, perhaps because of the manner in which they were genetically humanized. Heretofore, most genetic humanizations have involved disruption of the endogenous mouse gene with simultaneous introduction of a human transgene at a new and random location (so-called KO-plus-transgenic humanization). More recent efforts have attempted to replace mouse genes with their human counterparts at the same genetic location (in situ humanization), but such efforts involved laborious procedures and were limited in size and precision. We describe a general and efficient method for very large, in situ, and precise genetic humanization using large compound bacterial artificial chromosome-based targeting vectors introduced into mouse ES cells. We applied this method to genetically humanize 3-Mb segments of both the mouse heavy and κ light chain Ig loci, by far the largest genetic humanizations ever described. This paper provides a detailed description of our genetic humanization approach, and the companion paper reports that the humoral immune systems of mice bearing these genetically humanized loci function as efficiently as those of WT mice.
Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diffuse infiltrative invasion is a major cause for the dismal prognosis of glioblastoma (GBM), but the underlying mechanisms
remain incompletely understood. Using human glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) that recapitulate the invasive propensity of primary
GBM, we find that EphA2 critically regulates GBM invasion in vivo. EphA2 was expressed in all seven GSC lines examined, and overexpression of EphA2 enhanced intracranial invasion. The effects
required Akt-mediated phosphorylation of EphA2 on serine 897. In vitro the Akt-EphA2 signaling axis is maintained in the absence of ephrin-A ligands and is disrupted upon ligand stimulation. To
test whether ephrin-As in tumor microenvironment can regulate GSC invasion, the newly established Efna1;Efna3;Efna4 triple knockout mice (TKO) were used in an ex vivo brain slice invasion assay. We observed significantly increased GSC invasion through the brain slices of TKO mice relative
to wild type littermates. Mechanistically EphA2 knockdown suppressed stem properties of GSCs, causing diminished self-renewal,
reduced stem marker expression and decreased tumorigenicity. In a subset of GSCs, the reduced stem properties were associated
with lower Sox2 expression. Overexpression of EphA2 promoted stem properties in a kinase-independent manner and increased
Sox2 expression. In addition to suppressing invasion, disrupting Akt-EphA2 crosstalk attenuated stem marker expression and
neurosphere formation while having minimal effects on tumorigenesis, suggesting that the Akt-EphA2 signaling axis contributes
to the stem properties. Taken together, the results show that EphA2 endows invasiveness of GSCs in vivo in cooperation with Akt and contributes to the maintenance of stem properties.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many studies are uncovering functional roles for long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), yet few have been tested for in vivo relevance through genetic ablation in animal models. To investigate the functional relevance of lncRNAs in various physiological conditions, we have developed a collection of 18 lncRNA knockout strains in which the locus is maintained transcriptionally active. Initial characterization revealed peri- and postnatal lethal phenotypes in three mutant strains (Fendrr, Peril, and Mdgt), the latter two exhibiting incomplete penetrance and growth defects in survivors. We also report growth defects for two additional mutant strains (linc-Brn1b and linc-Pint). Further analysis revealed defects in lung, gastrointestinal tract, and heart in Fendrr(-/-) neonates, whereas linc-Brn1b(-/-) mutants displayed distinct abnormalities in the generation of upper layer II-IV neurons in the neocortex. This study demonstrates that lncRNAs play critical roles in vivo and provides a framework and impetus for future larger-scale functional investigation into the roles of lncRNA molecules.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: eLife digest
The mammalian genome is comprised of DNA sequences that contain the templates for proteins, and other DNA sequences that do not code for proteins. The coding DNA sequences are transcribed to make messenger RNA molecules, which are then translated to make proteins. Researchers have known for many years that some of the noncoding DNA sequences are also transcribed to make other types of RNA molecules, such as transfer and ribosomal RNA. However, the true breadth and diversity of the roles played by these other RNA molecules have only recently begun to be fully appreciated.
Mammalian genomes contain thousands of noncoding DNA sequences that are transcribed. Recent in vitro studies suggest that the resulting long noncoding RNA molecules can act as regulators of transcription, translation, and cell cycle. In vitro studies also suggest that these long noncoding RNA molecules may play a role in mammalian development and disease. Yet few in vivo studies have been performed to support or confirm such hypotheses.
Now Sauvageau et al. have developed several lines of knockout mice to investigate a subset of noncoding RNA molecules known as long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs). These experiments reveal that lincRNAs have a strong influence on the overall viability of mice, and also on a number of developmental processes, including the development of lungs and the cerebral cortex.
Given that the vast majority of the human genome is transcribed, the mouse models developed by Sauvageau et al. represent an important step in determining the physiological relevance, on a genetic level, of the noncoding portion of the genome in vivo.