Identification of sonic hedgehog as a candidate gene responsible for the polydactylous mouse mutant Sasquatch.
The mouse mutants of the hemimelia-luxate group (lx, lu, lst, Dh, Xt, and the more recently identified Hx, Xpl and Rim4;     ) have in common preaxial polydactyly and longbone abnormalities. Associated with the duplication of digits are changes in the regulation of development of the anterior limb bud resulting in ectopic expression of signalling components such as Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and fibroblast growth factor-4 (Fgf4), but little is known about the molecular causes of this misregulation. We generated, by a transgene insertion event, a new member of this group of mutants, Sasquatch (Ssq), which disrupted aspects of both anteroposterior (AP) and dorsoventral (DV) patterning. The mutant displayed preaxial polydactyly in the hindlimbs of heterozygous embryos, and in both hindlimbs and forelimbs of homozygotes. The Shh, Fgf4, Fgf8, Hoxd12 and Hoxd13 genes were all ectopically expressed in the anterior region of affected limb buds. The insertion site was found to lie close to the Shh locus. Furthermore, expression from the transgene reporter has come under the control of a regulatory element that directs a pattern mirroring the endogenous expression pattern of Shh in limbs. In abnormal limbs, both Shh and the reporter were ectopically induced in the anterior region, whereas in normal limbs the reporter and Shh were restricted to the zone of polarising activity (ZPA). These data strongly suggest that Ssq is caused by direct interference with the cis regulation of the Shh gene. (+info)
CAR-dependent and CAR-independent pathways of adenovirus vector-mediated gene transfer and expression in human fibroblasts.
Primary fibroblasts are not efficiently transduced by subgroup C adenovirus (Ad) vectors because they express low levels of the high-affinity Coxsackie virus and adenovirus receptor (CAR). In the present study, we have used primary human dermal fibroblasts as a model to explore strategies by which Ad vectors can be designed to enter cells deficient in CAR. Using an Ad vector expressing the human CAR cDNA (AdCAR) at high multiplicity of infection, primary fibroblasts were converted from being CAR deficient to CAR sufficient. Efficiency of subsequent gene transfer by standard Ad5-based vectors and Ad5-based vectors with alterations in penton and fiber was evaluated. Marked enhancement of binding and transgene expression by standard Ad5 vectors was achieved in CAR-sufficient fibroblasts. Expression by AdDeltaRGDbetagal, an Ad5-based vector lacking the arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD) alphaV integrin recognition site from its penton base, was achieved in CAR-sufficient, but not CAR-deficient, cells. Fiber-altered Ad5-based vectors, including (a) AdF(pK7)betagal (bearing seven lysines on the end of fiber) (b) AdF(RGD)betagal (bearing a high-affinity RGD sequence on the end of fiber), and (c) AdF9sK betagal (bearing a short fiber and Ad9 knob), demonstrated enhanced gene transfer in CAR-deficient fibroblasts, with no further enhancement in CAR-sufficient fibroblasts. Together, these observations demonstrate that CAR deficiency on Ad targets can be circumvented either by supplying CAR or by modifying the Ad fiber to bind to other cell-surface receptors. (+info)
A new element within the T-cell receptor alpha locus required for tissue-specific locus control region activity.
Locus control regions (LCRs) are cis-acting regulatory elements thought to provide a tissue-specific open chromatin domain for genes to which they are linked. The gene for T-cell receptor alpha chain (TCRalpha) is exclusively expressed in T cells, and the chromatin at its locus displays differentially open configurations in expressing and nonexpressing tissues. Mouse TCRalpha exists in a complex locus containing three differentially regulated genes. We previously described an LCR in this locus that confers T-lineage-specific expression upon linked transgenes. The 3' portion of this LCR contains an unrestricted chromatin opening activity while the 5' portion contains elements restricting this activity to T cells. This tissue-specificity region contains four known DNase I hypersensitive sites, two located near transcriptional silencers, one at the TCRalpha enhancer, and another located 3' of the enhancer in a 1-kb region of unknown function. Analysis of this region using transgenic mice reveals that the silencer regions contribute negligibly to LCR activity. While the enhancer is required for complete LCR function, its removal has surprisingly little effect on chromatin structure or expression outside the thymus. Rather, the region 3' of the enhancer appears responsible for the tissue-differential chromatin configurations observed at the TCRalpha locus. This region, herein termed the "HS1' element," also increases lymphoid transgene expression while suppressing ectopic transgene activity. Thus, this previously undescribed element is an integral part of the TCRalphaLCR, which influences tissue-specific chromatin structure and gene expression. (+info)
Inducible long-term gene expression in brain with adeno-associated virus gene transfer.
Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors hold promise for treating a number of neurological disorders due to the ability to deliver long-term gene expression without toxicity or immune response. Critical to these endeavors will be controlled expression of the therapeutic gene in target cells. We have constructed and tested a dual cassette rAAV vector carrying a reporter gene under the control of the tetracycline-responsive system and the tetracycline transactivator. Transduction in vitro resulted in stable expression from the vector that can be suppressed 20-fold by tetracycline treatment. In vivo experiments, carried out to 6 weeks, demonstrated that vector-transduced expression is sustained until doxycycline administration upon which reporter gene expression is reduced. Moreover, the suppression of vector-driven expression can be reversed by removal of the drug. These studies demonstrate long-term regulated gene expression from rAAV vectors. This system will provide a valuable approach for controlling vector gene expression both in vitro and in vivo. (+info)
Overexpression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase under the control of mouse metallothionein I promoter in transgenic mice: evidence for a striking post-transcriptional regulation of transgene expression by a polyamine analogue.
We recently generated a transgenic mouse line overexpressing spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) gene under its own promoter. The tissue polyamine pools of these animals were profoundly affected and the mice were hairless from early age. We have now generated another transgenic-mouse line overexpressing the SSAT gene under the control of a heavy-metal-inducible mouse metallothionein I (MT) promoter. Even in the absence of heavy metals, changes in the tissue polyamine pools indicated that a marked activation of polyamine catabolism had occurred in the transgenic animals. As with the SSAT transgenic mice generated previously, the mice of the new line (MT-SSAT) suffered permanent hair loss, but this occurred considerably later than in the previous SSAT transgenic animals. Liver was the most affected tissue in the MT-SSAT transgenic animals, revealed by putrescine overaccumulation, significant decrease in spermidine concentration and >90% reduction in the spermine pool. Even though hepatic SSAT mRNA accumulated to massive levels in non-induced transgenic animals, SSAT activity was only moderately elevated. Administration of ZnSO4 further elevated the level of hepatic SSAT message and induced enzyme activity, but not more than 2- to 3-fold. Treatment of the transgenic animals with the polyamine analogue N1,N11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) resulted in an immense induction, more than 40000-fold, of enzyme activity in the liver of transgenic animals, and minor changes in the SSAT mRNA level. Liver spermidine and spermine pools were virtually depleted within 1-2 days in response to the treatment with the analogue. The treatment also resulted in a marked mortality (up to 60%) among the transgenic animals which showed ultrastructural changes in the liver, most notably mitochondrial swelling, one of the earliest signs of cell injury. These results indicated that, even without its own promoter, SSAT is powerfully induced by the polyamine analogue through a mechanism that appears to involve a direct translational and/or heterogenous nuclear RNA processing control. It is likewise significant that overexpression of SSAT renders the animals extremely sensitive to polyamine analogues. (+info)
Tissue-specific knockout of the insulin receptor in pancreatic beta cells creates an insulin secretory defect similar to that in type 2 diabetes.
Dysfunction of the pancreatic beta cell is an important defect in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, although its exact relationship to the insulin resistance is unclear. To determine whether insulin signaling has a functional role in the beta cell we have used the Cre-loxP system to specifically inactivate the insulin receptor gene in the beta cells. The resultant mice exhibit a selective loss of insulin secretion in response to glucose and a progressive impairment of glucose tolerance. These data indicate an important functional role for the insulin receptor in glucose sensing by the pancreatic beta cell and suggest that defects in insulin signaling at the level of the beta cell may contribute to the observed alterations in insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes. (+info)
A genetic approach to visualization of multisynaptic neural pathways using plant lectin transgene.
The wiring patterns among various types of neurons via specific synaptic connections are the basis of functional logic employed by the brain for information processing. This study introduces a powerful method of analyzing the neuronal connectivity patterns by delivering a tracer selectively to specific types of neurons while simultaneously transsynaptically labeling their target neurons. We developed a novel genetic approach introducing cDNA for a plant lectin, wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), as a transgene under the control of specific promoter elements. Using this method, we demonstrate three examples of visualization of specific transsynaptic neural pathways: the mouse cerebellar efferent pathways, the mouse olfactory pathways, and the Drosophila visual pathways. This strategy should greatly facilitate studies on the anatomical and functional organization of the developing and mature nervous system. (+info)
Gene expression and chromatin organization during mouse oocyte growth.
Mouse oocytes can be classified according to their chromatin organization and the presence [surrounded nucleolus (SN) oocytes] or absence [nonsurrounded nucleolus (NSN) oocytes] of a ring of Hoechst-positive chromatin around the nucleolus. Following fertilization only SN oocytes are able to develop beyond the two-cell stage. These studies indicate a correlation between SN and NSN chromatin organization and the developmental competence of the female gamete, which may depend on gene expression. In the present study, we have used the HSP70.1Luc transgene (murine HSP70.1 promoter + reporter gene firefly luciferase) to analyze gene expression in oocytes isolated from ovaries of 2-day- to 13-week-old females. Luciferase was assayed on oocytes after classification as SN or NSN type. Our data show that SN oocytes always exhibit a higher level of luciferase activity, demonstrating a higher gene expression in this category. Only after meiotic resumption, metaphase II oocytes derived from NSN or SN oocytes acquire the same level of transgene expression. We suggest that the limited availability of transcripts and corresponding proteins, excluded from the cytoplasm until GVBD in NSN oocytes, could explain why these oocytes have a lower ability to sustain embryonic development beyond the two-cell stage at which major zygotic transcription occurs. With this study we have furthered our knowledge of epigenetic regulation of gene expression in oogenesis. (+info)