Gene targeting in most of human somatic cell lines has been labor-intensive because of low homologous recombination efficiency. The development of an experimental system that permits a facile evaluation of gene targeting efficiency in human somatic cell lines is the first step towards the improvement of this technology and its application to a broad range of cell lines. In this study, we utilized phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis class A (PIGA), a gene essential for the synthesis of glycosylphosphatidyl inositol (GPI) anchors, as a reporter of gene targeting events in human somatic cell lines. Targeted disruption of PIGA was quantitatively detected with FLAER, a reagent that specifically binds to GPI anchors. Using this PIGA-based reporter system, we successfully detected adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene targeting events both with and without promoter-trap enrichment of gene-targeted cell population. The PIGA-based reporter system was also capable of reproducing previous findings that an AAV-mediated gene targeting achieves a remarkably higher ratio of homologous versus random integration (H/R ratio) of targeting vectors than a plasmid-mediated gene targeting. The PIGA-based system also detected an approximately 2-fold increase in the H/R ratio achieved by a small negative selection cassette introduced at the end of the AAV-based targeting vector with a promoter-trap system. Thus, our PIGA-based system is useful for monitoring AAV-mediated gene targeting and will assist in improving gene targeting technology in human somatic cell lines.
The genetic defect underlying paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) has been shown to reside in PIGA, a gene that encodes an element required for the first step in glycophosphatidylinositol anchor assembly. Why PIGA-mutated cells are able to expand in PNH marrow, however, is as yet unclear. To address this question, we compared the growth of affected CD59–CD34+ and unaffected CD59+CD34+ cells from patients with that of normal CD59+CD34+ cells in liquid culture. One hundred FACS-sorted cells were added per well into microtiter plates, and after 11 days at 37°C the progeny were counted and were analyzed for their differentiation pattern. We found that CD59–CD34+ cells from PNH patients proliferated to levels approaching those of normal cells, but that CD59+CD34+ cells from the patients gave rise to 20- to 140-fold fewer cells. Prior to sorting, the patients’ CD59– and CD59+CD34+ cells were equivalent with respect to early differentiation markers, and following culture, the CD45 differentiation patterns were identical to those of control CD34+ cells. Further analyses of the unsorted CD59+CD34+ population, however, showed elevated levels of Fas receptor. Addition of agonist anti-Fas mAb to cultures reduced the CD59+CD34+ cell yield by up to 78% but had a minimal effect on the CD59–CD34+ cells, whereas antagonist anti-Fas mAb enhanced the yield by up to 250%. These results suggest that expansion of PIGA-mutated cells in PNH marrow is due to a growth defect in nonmutated cells, and that greater susceptibility to apoptosis is one factor involved in the growth impairment.
Mutations in the gene coding for the RNA component of telomerase, hTERC, have been found in autosomal dominant dyskeratosis congenita (DC) and aplastic anemia. Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal blood disorder associated with aplastic anemia and characterized by the presence of one or more clones of blood cells lacking glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchored proteins due to a somatic mutation in the PIGA gene.
We searched for mutations in DNA extracted from PNH patients by amplification of the hTERC gene and denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (dHPLC). After a mutation was found in a potential transcription factor binding site in one patient electrophoretic mobility shift assays were used to detect binding of transcription factors to that site. The effect of the mutation on the function of the promoter was tested by transient transfection constructs in which the promoter is used to drive a reporter gene.
Here we report the finding of a novel promoter mutation (-99C->G) in the hTERC gene in a patient with PNH. The mutation disrupts an Sp1 binding site and destroys its ability to bind Sp1. Transient transfection assays show that mutations in this hTERC site including C-99G cause either up- or down-regulation of promoter activity and suggest that the site regulates core promoter activity in a context dependent manner in cancer cells.
These data are the first report of an hTERC promoter mutation from a patient sample which can modulate core promoter activity in vitro, raising the possibility that the mutation may affect the transcription of the gene in hematopoietic stem cells in vivo, and that dysregulation of telomerase may play a role in the development of bone marrow failure and the evolution of PNH clones.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) develops in patients who have had a somatic mutation in the X-linked PIG-A gene in a hematopoietic stem cell; as a result, a proportion of blood cells are deficient in all glycosyl phosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteins. Although the PIG-A mutation explains the phenotype of PNH cells, the mechanism enabling the PNH stem cell to expand is not clear. To examine this growth behavior, and to investigate the role of GPI-linked proteins in hematopoietic differentiation, we have inactivated the pig-a gene by homologous recombination in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. In mouse chimeras, pig-a- ES cells were able to contribute to hematopoiesis and to differentiate into mature red cells, granulocytes, and lymphocytes with the PNH phenotype. The proportion of PNH red cells was substantial in the fetus, but decreased rapidly after birth. Likewise, PNH granulocytes could only be demonstrated in the young mouse. In contrast, the percentage of lymphocytes deficient in GPI-linked proteins was more stable. In vitro, pig-a- ES cells were able to form pig-a- embryoid bodies and to undergo hematopoietic (erythroid and myeloid) differentiation. The number and the percentage of pig-a- embryoid bodies with hematopoietic differentiation, however, were significantly lower when compared with wild-type embryoid bodies. Our findings demonstrate that murine ES cells with a nonfunctional pig-a gene are competent for hematopoiesis, and give rise to blood cells with the PNH phenotype. pig-a inactivation on its own, however, does not confer a proliferative advantage to the hematopoietic stem cell. This provides direct evidence for the notion that some additional factor(s) are needed for the expansion of the mutant clone in patients with PNH.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a rare hematologic disease that presents with protean manifestations. Clinical and laboratory investigation over the past 25 years have uncovered most of the basic science underpinnings of PNH and have led to the development of a highly effective targeted therapy. PNH originates from a multipotent hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) that acquires a somatic mutation in a gene called phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class A (PIG-A). The PIG-A gene is required for the first step in glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor biosynthesis. Failure to synthesize GPI anchors leads to an absence of all proteins that utilize GPI to attach to the plasma membrane. Two GPI-anchor proteins, CD55 and CD59, are complement regulatory proteins; their absence on the surface of PNH cells leads to complement-mediated hemolysis. The release of free hemoglobin leads to scavenging of nitric oxide and contributes to many clinical manifestations, including esophageal spasm, fatigue, and possibly thrombosis. Aerolysin, a pore-forming toxin, binds GPI anchored proteins and kills normal cells, but not PNH cells. A fluorescinated aerolysin variant (FLAER) binds GPI-anchor and serves as a novel reagent diagnosing PNH. Eculizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against C5, is the first effective drug therapy for PNH.
Twenty-four Caenorhabditis elegans genes are involved in GPI-anchor synthesis. Based on the isolation of a deletion allele of the PIGA gene mediating the first step of GPI-anchor synthesis, GPI-anchor synthesis in somatic gonads and/or in germline is shown to be indispensable for the normal development of oocytes and eggs.
Glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor attachment is one of the most common posttranslational protein modifications. Using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we determined that GPI-anchored proteins are present in germline cells and distal tip cells, which are essential for the maintenance of the germline stem cell niche. We identified 24 C. elegans genes involved in GPI-anchor synthesis. Inhibition of various steps of GPI-anchor synthesis by RNA interference or gene knockout resulted in abnormal development of oocytes and early embryos, and both lethal and sterile phenotypes were observed. The piga-1 gene (orthologue of human PIGA) codes for the catalytic subunit of the phosphatidylinositol N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase complex, which catalyzes the first step of GPI-anchor synthesis. We isolated piga-1–knockout worms and found that GPI-anchor synthesis is indispensable for the maintenance of mitotic germline cell number. The knockout worms displayed 100% lethality, with decreased mitotic germline cells and abnormal eggshell formation. Using cell-specific rescue of the null allele, we showed that expression of piga-1 in somatic gonads and/or in germline is sufficient for normal embryonic development and the maintenance of the germline mitotic cells. These results clearly demonstrate that GPI-anchor synthesis is indispensable for germline formation and for normal development of oocytes and eggs.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal non-malignant hematological disease characterized by the expansion of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and progeny mature cells, whose surfaces lack all the proteins linked through the glycosyl-phosphatidyl inositol anchor. This defect arises from an acquired somatic mutation in the X-linked phosphatidylinositol glycan class A gene, with subsequent clonal expansion of the mutated HSCs as a result of a concomitant, likely immune-mediated, selective pressure. The disease is characterized by complement-mediated chronic intravascular hemolysis, resulting in hemolytic anemia and hemosiderinuria; capricious exacerbations lead to recurrent gross hemoglobinuria. Additional cardinal manifestations of PNH are a variable degree of bone marrow failure and an intrinsic propensity to thromboembolic events. The disease is markedly invalidating, with chronic symptoms requiring supportive therapy – usually including periodical transfusions; possible life-threatening complications may also ensue. The biology of PNH has been progressively elucidated in the past few years, but therapeutic strategies remained unsatisfactory for decades, the only exception being stem cell transplantation, which is restricted to selected patients and retains significant morbidity and mortality. Recently, a biological agent to treat PNH has been developed – the terminal complement inhibitor eculizumab – which has been tested in a number of clinical trials, with exciting results. All the data from worldwide clinical trials confirm that eculizumab radically modifies the symptoms, the biology, and the natural history of PNH, strongly improving the quality of life of PNH patients.
paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria; GPI-AP; PIG-A; complement; eculizumab
Conditional gene repair mutations in the mouse can assist in
cell lineage analyses and provide a valuable complement to conditional
gene inactivation strategies. We present a method for the generation
of conditional gene repair mutations that employs a loxP-flanked
(floxed) selectable marker and transcriptional/translational
stop cassette (neostop) located within the first
intron of a target gene. In the absence of Cre recombinase, expression
of the targeted allele is suppressed generating a null allele, while
in the presence of Cre, excision of neostop restores
expression to wild-type levels. To test this strategy, we have generated
a conditional gene repair allele of the mouse Huntington’s
disease gene homolog (Hdh). Insertion of neostop within
the Hdh intron 1 generated a null allele and mice
homozygous for this allele resembled nullizygous Hdh mutants and
died after embryonic day 8.5. In the presence of a cre transgene
expressed ubiquitously early in development, excision of neostop restored Hdh expression and rescued the early embryonic lethality. A simple modification of this strategy that permits the generation
of conventional gene knockout, conditional gene knockout and conditional gene
repair alleles using one targeting construct is discussed.
The Cre-loxP system has been used to enable tissue specific activation, inactivation and mutation of many genes in vivo and has thereby greatly facilitated the genetic dissection of several cellular and developmental processes. In such studies, Cre-reporter strains, which carry a Cre-activated marker gene, are frequently utilized to validate the expression profile of Cre transgenes, to act as a surrogate marker for excision of a second allele, and to irreversibly label cells for lineage tracing experiments.
We have studied three commonly used Cre-reporter strains, Z/AP, Z/EG and R26R-EYFP and have demonstrated that although each reporter can be reliably activated by Cre during early development, exposure to Cre in adult hematopoietic cells results in a much lower frequency of marker-positive cells in the Z/AP or Z/EG strains than in the R26R-EYFP strain. In marker negative cells derived from the Z/AP and Z/EG strains, the transgenic promoter is methylated and Cre-mediated recombination of the locus is inhibited.
These results show that the efficiency of Cre-mediated recombination is not only dependent on the genomic context of a given loxP-flanked sequence, but also on stochastic epigenetic mechanisms underlying transgene variegation. Furthermore, our data highlights the potential shortcomings of utilizing the Z/AP and Z/EG reporters as surrogate markers of excision or in lineage tracing experiments.
β-catenin–mediated Wnt signaling has been suggested to be critically involved in hematopoietic stem cell maintenance and development of T and B cells in the immune system. Unexpectedly, here we report that inducible Cre-loxP–mediated inactivation of the β-catenin gene in bone marrow progenitors does not impair their ability to self-renew and reconstitute all hematopoietic lineages (myeloid, erythroid, and lymphoid), even in competitive mixed chimeras. In addition, both thymocyte survival and antigen-induced proliferation of peripheral T cells is β-catenin independent. In contrast to earlier reports, these data exclude an essential role for β-catenin during hematopoiesis and lymphopoiesis.
Wnt signaling; T cells; B cells; development; gene targeting
In insulinoma cell lines proliferation and insulin gene transcription are stimulated by growth hormone and prolactin, which convey their signals through the transcription factors Stat5a and 5b (referred to as Stat5). However, the contribution of Stat5 to the physiology of β-cells in vivo could not be assessed directly since Stat5-null mice die perinataly. To explore the physiological role of Stat5 in the mouse, the corresponding gene locus targeted with loxP sites was inactivated in β-cells using two lines of Cre recombinase expressing transgenic mice. While the RIP-Cre transgene is active in pancreatic β-cells and the hypothalamus, the Pdx1-Cre transgene is active in precursor cells of the endocrine and exocrine pancreas. Mice carrying two floxed Stat5 alleles and a RIP-Cre transgene developed mild obesity, were hyperglycemic and exhibited impaired glucose tolerance. Since RIP-Cre transgenic mice by themselves display some glucose intolerance, the significance of these data is unclear. In contrast, mice, in which the Stat5 locus had been deleted with the Pdx1-Cre transgene, developed functional islets and were glucose tolerant. Mild glucose intolerance occurred with age. We conclude that Stat5 is not essential for islet development but may modulate β-cell function.
Stat5; Rip-Cre; Pdx1-Cre; Islets of Langerhans; β-cells; glucose homeostasis
The albCre transgene, having Cre recombinase driven by the serum albumin (alb) gene promoter, is commonly used to generate adult mice having reliable hepatocyte-specific recombination of loxP-flanked (“floxed”) alleles. Based on previous studies, it has been unclear whether albCre transgenes are also reliable in fetal and juvenile mice. Perinatal liver undergoes a dynamic transition from being predominantly hematopoietic to predominantly hepatic. We evaluated Cre activity during this transition in albCre mice using a sensitive two-color fluorescent reporter system. From fetal through adult stages, in situ patterns of Cre-dependent recombination of the reporter closely matched expression of endogenous Alb mRNA or protein, indicating most or all hepatocytes, including those in fetal and juvenile livers, had expressed Cre and recombined the reporter. Our results indicate the albCre transgene is effective at converting simple floxed alleles in fetal and neonatal mice and is an appropriate tool for studies on hepatocyte development.
Albumin-Cre; conditional allele; liver-specific knockout; liver development; hepatocyte; fetal albumin expression
The jumonji (jmj) gene plays important roles in multiple organ development in mouse, including cardiovascular development. Since JMJ is expressed widely during mouse development, it is essential that conditional knockout approaches be employed to ablate JMJ in a tissue-specific manner to identify the cell lineage specific roles of JMJ. In this report, we describe the establishment of a jmj conditional null allele in mice by generating a loxP-flanked (floxed) jmj allele, which allows the in vivo ablation of jmj via Cre recombinase-mediated deletion. Gene targeting was used to introduce loxP sites flanking exon 3 of the jmj allele to mouse embryonic stem cells. Our results indicate that the jmj floxed allele converts to a null allele in a heart-specific manner when embryos homozygous for the floxed jmj allele and carrying the α-myosin heavy chain promoter-Cre transgene were analyzed by Southern and Northern blot analyses. Therefore, this mouse line harboring the conditional jmj null allele will provide a valuable tool for deciphering the tissue and cell lineage specific roles of JMJ.
Jumonji (Jarid 2); Cre-loxP technology; conditional knockout; mouse development; heart
Functional analysis of mammalian genes relies, in part, on targeted mutations generated by homologous recombination in mice. We have developed a strategy for adipose-specific inactivation of loxP-floxed gene segments. Transgenic mice have been established that express Cre recombinase under the control of the adipose-specific aP2 enhancer/promoter. Crossing of the aP2/ Cre mice with any loxP-floxed gene will facilitate its functional analysis in adipose tissue.
Conditional DNA excision between two LoxP sites can be achieved in the mouse using Cre-ER(T), a fusion protein between a mutated ligand binding domain of the human estrogen receptor (ER) and the Cre recombinase, the activity of which can be induced by 4-hydroxy-tamoxifen (OHT), but not natural ER ligands. We have recently characterized a new ligand-dependent recombinase, Cre-ER(T2), which was approximately 4-fold more efficiently induced by OHT than Cre-ER(T) in cultured cells. In order to compare the in vivo efficiency of these two ligand-inducible recombinases to generate temporally-controlled somatic mutations, we have engineered transgenic mice expressing a LoxP-flanked (floxed) transgene reporter and either Cre-ER(T) or Cre-ER(T2) under the control of the bovine keratin 5 promoter that is specifically active in the epidermis basal cell layer. No background recombinase activity could be detected, while recombination was induced in basal keratinocytes upon OHT administration. Interestingly, a dose-response study showed that Cre-ER(T2) was approximately 10-fold more sensitive to OHT induction than Cre-ER(T).
Cre/LoxP-based DNA recombination has been used to introduce desired DNA rearrangements in various organisms, having for example, greatly assisted genetic analyses in mice. For most applications, single gene promoters are used to drive Cre production for conditional gene activation/inactivation or lineage-tracing experiments. Such a manipulation introduces Cre in all cells in which the utilized promoter is active. To overcome the limited selectivity of single promoters for cell-type-specific recombination, we have explored the ‘dual promoter combinatorial control’ of Cre activity, so that Cre activity could be restricted to cells that express dual protein markers. We efficiently reconstituted Cre activity from two modified, inactive Cre fragments. Cre re-association was greatly enhanced by fusing the Cre fragments separately to peptides that can form a tight antiparallel leucine zipper. The co-expressed Cre fusion fragments showed substantial activity in cultured cells. As proof of principle of the utility of this technique in vivo for manipulating genes specifically in dual-marker-positive cells, we expressed each inactive Cre fragments in transgenic mice via individual promoters. Result showed the effective reconstitution of Cre activates LoxP recombination in the co-expressing cells.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is an acquired genetic disorder of the bone marrow that produces intravascular hemolysis, proclivity to venous thrombosis, and hematopoietic failure. Mutation in the PIG-A gene of a hematopoietic stem cell abrogates synthesis of glycosylphosphoinositol (GPI) anchors and expression of all GPI-anchored proteins on the surface of progeny erythrocytes, leukocytes, and platelets. Urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), a GPI-linked protein expressed on neutrophils, mediates endogenous thrombolysis through a urokinase-dependent mechanism. Here we show that membrane GPI-anchored uPAR is decreased or absent on granulocytes and platelets of patients with PNH, while soluble uPAR (suPAR) levels are increased in patients’ plasma. Serum suPAR concentrations correlated with the number of GPI-negative neutrophils and were highest in patients who later develop thrombosis. In vitro, suPAR is released from PNH hematopoietic cells and from platelets upon activation, suggesting that these cells are the probable source of plasma suPAR in the absence of GPI anchor synthesis and trafficking of uPAR to the cell membrane. In vitro, the addition of recombinant suPAR results in a dose-dependent decrease in the activity of single-chain urokinase. We hypothesized that suPAR, prevents the interaction of urokinase with membrane-anchored uPAR on residual normal cells.
Aim: Paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) is caused by deficient biosynthesis of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchor in haemopoietic stem cells. Mutation of the phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIG-A) gene, an X linked gene that participates in the first step of GPI anchor biosynthesis, is responsible for PNH. The characteristics of somatic mutation of the PIG-A gene in Korean patients with PNH were studied.
Methods: Twenty four patients with PNH were selected. Ham tests and sucrose haemolysis tests were carried out on all patients. The expression of CD59 in erythrocytes and granulocytes was investigated in 14 and five patients, respectively, to confirm the diagnosis. Dideoxy fingerprinting (ddF) was used to screen mutations, and direct sequencing of DNA was performed to characterise the mutations.
Results: Gene mutation was detected in 12 of the 24 patients. The other 12 patients were negative in ddF screening. Ten new mutations and two known mutations were detected. The mutations consisted of five deletions, six substitutions, and one insertion. These mutations resulted in six premature terminations, three abnormal splicings, one missense mutation in exon 2, and two nonsense mutations. Two patients with venous thrombosis showed mutations in exon 3 only. Substitution mutations were seen in six patients and frameshift mutations in the other six.
Conclusions: There were 10 new mutations among the 12 mutations in the Korean patients with PNH and the characteristics of the mutations varied, with no significant hot spots in sites or types.
paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria; mutation; phosphatidylinositol glycan class A (PIG-A) gene; glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor; dideoxy fingerprinting
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria is a hematological disease with complex physiopathology. It is genetically characterized by a somatic mutation in the PIG-A gene (phosphatidylinositol glycan anchor biosynthesis, class A), in which the best known antigens are DAF (decay accelerating factor or CD55) and MIRL (membrane inhibitor of reactive lysis or CD59).
To determine the frequency of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria in patients attended at the HEMOPA foundation from November 2008 to July 2009.
Thirty patients, with ages ranging from two to 79 years old and suspected of having paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria were examined. All patients were immunophenotyped by flow cytometry for the CD5, CD59, CD16 and CD45 antigens.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria was identified in nine of the thirty patients investigated. Another 3 cases had inconclusive results with CD59-negative labeling only for neutrophils. The highest frequency of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria patients (7/9) and inconclusive cases (2/3) were between 19 years old and 48 years old, with a median of 28 years.
These results show the importance of flow cytometry to identify cases in which patients are deficient in only one antigen (CD59).
Immunophenotyping; Flow cytometry; Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria; Diagnosis; Antigen, CD55; Antigen, CD59
Inactivating genes in vivo is an important technique for establishing their function in the adult nervous system. Unfortunately, conventional knockout mice may suffer from several limitations including embryonic or perinatal lethality and the compensatory regulation of other genes. One approach to producing conditional activation or inactivation of genes involves the use of Cre recombinase to remove loxP-flanked segments of DNA. We have studied the effects of delivering Cre to the hippocampus and neocortex of adult mice by injecting replication-deficient adeno-associated virus (AAV) and lentiviral (LV) vectors into discrete regions of the forebrain.
Recombinant AAV-Cre, AAV-GFP (green fluorescent protein) and LV-Cre-EGFP (enhanced GFP) were made with the transgene controlled by the cytomegalovirus promoter. Infecting 293T cells in vitro with AAV-Cre and LV-Cre-EGFP resulted in transduction of most cells as shown by GFP fluorescence and Cre immunoreactivity. Injections of submicrolitre quantities of LV-Cre-EGFP and mixtures of AAV-Cre with AAV-GFP into the neocortex and hippocampus of adult Rosa26 reporter mice resulted in strong Cre and GFP expression in the dentate gyrus and moderate to strong labelling in specific regions of the hippocampus and in the neocortex, mainly in neurons. The pattern of expression of Cre and GFP obtained with AAV and LV vectors was very similar. X-gal staining showed that Cre-mediated recombination had occurred in neurons in the same regions of the brain, starting at 3 days post-injection. No obvious toxic effects of Cre expression were detected even after four weeks post-injection.
AAV and LV vectors are capable of delivering Cre to neurons in discrete regions of the adult mouse brain and producing recombination.
The ability to genetically remove specific components of various cell signalling cascades has been an integral tool in modern signal transduction analysis. One particular method to achieve this conditional deletion is via the use of the Cre-loxP system. This method involves flanking the gene of interest with loxP sites, which are specific recognition sequences for the Cre recombinase protein. Exposure of the so-called floxed (flanked by loxP site) DNA to this enzyme results in a Cre-mediated recombination event at the loxP sites, and subsequent excision of the intervening gene3. Several different methods exist to administer Cre recombinase to the site of interest. In this video, we demonstrate the use of an adenovirus containing the Cre recombinase gene to infect primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) obtained from embryos containing a floxed Rac1 allele1. Our rationale for selecting Rac1 MEFs for our experiments is that clear morphological changes can be seen upon deletion of Rac1, due to alterations in the actin cytoskeleton2,5. 72 hours following viral transduction and Cre expression, cells were stained using the actin dye phalloidin and imaged using confocal laser scanning microscopy. It was observed that MEFs which had been exposed to the adeno-Cre virus appeared contracted and elongated in morphology compared to uninfected cells, consistent with previous reports2,5. The adenovirus method of Cre recombinase delivery is advantageous as the adeno-Cre virus is easily available, and gene deletion via Cre in nearly 100% of the cells can be achieved with optimized adenoviral infection.
Polymeric IgA (pIgA) is transported by liver parenchymal cells (hepatocytes) from blood to bile via a receptor-mediated process. We have studied the intracellular pathway taken by a TEPC15 mouse myeloma pIgA. When from 1 microgram to 1 mg 125I-pIgA was injected into the saphenous vein of a rat, 36% was transported as intact protein into the bile over a 3-h period. The concentration of transported 125I-pIgA was maximal in bile 30-60 min after injection, and approximately 80% of the total 125I-pIgA ultimately transported had been secreted into bile by 90 min. A horseradish peroxidase-pIgA conjugate (125I-pIgA-HRP) was transported to a similar extent and with kinetics similar to that of unconjugated 125I-pIgA and was therefore used to visualize the transport pathway. Peroxidase cytochemistry of livers fixed in situ 2.5 to 10 min after 125I-pIgA-HRP injection demonstrated a progressive redistribution of labeled structures from the sinusoidal area to intermediate and bile canalicular regions of the hepatocyte cytoplasm. Although conjugate-containing structures began accumulating in the bile canalicular region at these early times, no conjugate was present in bile until 20 min. From 7.5 to 45 min after injection approximately 30% of the labeled structures were in regions that contained Golgi complexes and lysosomes; however, we found no evidence that either organelle contained 125I-pIgA-HRP. At least 85% of all positive structures in the hepatocyte were vesicles of 110-160-nm median diameters, with the remaining structures accounted for by tubules and multivesicular bodies. Vesicles in the bile canalicular region tended to be larger than those in the sinusoidal region. Serial sectioning showed that the 125I-pIgA-HRP-containing structures were relatively simple (predominantly vesicular) and that extensive interconnections did not exist between structures in the sinusoidal and bile canalicular regions.
The global transcriptional coactivators CREB-binding protein (CBP) and the closely related p300 interact with over 312 proteins, making them among the most heavily connected hubs in the known mammalian protein-protein interactome. It is largely uncertain, however, if these interactions are important in specific cell lineages of adult animals, as homozygous null mutations in either CBP or p300 result in early embryonic lethality in mice. Here we describe a Cre/LoxP conditional p300 null allele (p300flox) that allows for the temporal and tissue-specific inactivation of p300. We used mice carrying p300flox and a CBP conditional knockout allele (CBPflox) in conjunction with an Lck-Cre transgene to delete CBP and p300 starting at the CD4− CD8− double-negative thymocyte stage of T-cell development. Loss of either p300 or CBP led to a decrease in CD4+ CD8+ double-positive thymocytes, but an increase in the percentage of CD8+ single-positive thymocytes seen in CBP mutant mice was not observed in p300 mutants. T cells completely lacking both CBP and p300 did not develop normally and were nonexistent or very rare in the periphery, however. T cells lacking CBP or p300 had reduced tumor necrosis factor alpha gene expression in response to phorbol ester and ionophore, while signal-responsive gene expression in CBP- or p300-deficient macrophages was largely intact. Thus, CBP and p300 each supply a surprising degree of redundant coactivation capacity in T cells and macrophages, although each gene has also unique properties in thymocyte development.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) results from mutations in the NF1 tumor suppressor gene, which encodes the protein neurofibromin. NF1 patients display diverse clinical manifestations, including vascular disease, which results from neointima formation and vessel occlusion. However, the pathogenesis of NF1 vascular disease remains unclear. Vessel wall homeostasis is maintained by complex interactions between vascular and bone marrow–derived cells (BMDCs), and neurofibromin regulates the function of each cell type. Therefore, utilizing cre/lox techniques and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation to delete 1 allele of Nf1 in endothelial cells, vascular smooth muscle cells, and BMDCs alone, we determined which cell lineage is critical for neointima formation in vivo in mice. Here we demonstrate that heterozygous inactivation of Nf1 in BMDCs alone was necessary and sufficient for neointima formation after vascular injury and provide evidence of vascular inflammation in Nf1+/– mice. Further, analysis of peripheral blood from NF1 patients without overt vascular disease revealed increased concentrations of inflammatory cells and cytokines previously linked to vascular inflammation and vasoocclusive disease. These data provide genetic and cellular evidence of vascular inflammation in NF1 patients and Nf1+/– mice and provide a framework for understanding the pathogenesis of NF1 vasculopathy and potential therapeutic and diagnostic interventions.
Studies of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) have been hampered by the lack of a suitable animal model because disruption of essential ciliary genes in mice results in a high incidence of lethal hydrocephalus. To develop a viable mouse model for long-term studies of PCD, we have generated a transgenic mouse line in which two conserved exons of the mouse intermediate dynein chain gene, Dnaic1, are flanked by loxP sites (Dnaic1flox/flox). Dnaic1 is the murine homolog of human DNAI1, which is mutated in approximately 10% of human PCD cases. These mice have been crossed with mice expressing a tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase (CreER). Treatment of adult Dnaic1flox/flox/CreER+/− mice with tamoxifen results in an almost complete deletion of Dnaic1 with no evidence of hydrocephalus. Treated animals have reduced levels of full-length Dnaic1 mRNA, and electron micrographs of cilia demonstrate a loss of outer dynein arm structures. In treated Dnaic1flox/flox/CreER+/− animals, mucociliary clearance (MCC) was reduced over time. After approximately 3 months, no MCC was observed in the nasopharynx, whereas in the trachea, MCC was observed for up to 6 months, likely reflecting a difference in the turnover of ciliated cells in these tissues. All treated animals developed severe rhinosinusitis, demonstrating the importance of MCC to the health of the upper airways. However, no evidence of lung disease was observed up to 11 months after Dnaic1 deletion, suggesting that other mechanisms are able to compensate for the lack of MCC in the lower airways of mice. This model will be useful for the study of the pathogenesis and treatment of PCD.
primary ciliary dyskinesia; cilia; mucociliary clearance; bronchiectasis; rhinosinusitis