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Cystinosis is an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by an intralysosomal accumulation of cystine, and affected individuals progress to end-stage renal failure before the age of ten. The causative gene, CTNS, was cloned in 1998 and the encoded protein, cystinosin, was predicted to be a lysosomal membrane protein.
We have cloned the murine homologue of CTNS, Ctns, and the encoded amino acid sequence is 92.6% similar to cystinosin. We localised Ctns to mouse chromosome 11 in a region syntenic to human chromosome 17 containing CTNS. Ctns is widely expressed in all tissues tested with the exception of skeletal muscle, in contrast to CTNS.
We have isolated, characterised and localised Ctns, the murine homologue of CTNS underlying cystinosis. Furthermore, our work has brought to light the existence of a differential pattern of expression between the human and murine homologues, providing critical information for the generation of a mouse model for cystinosis.