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1.  Mutations in mouse Ift144 model the craniofacial, limb and rib defects in skeletal ciliopathies 
Human Molecular Genetics  2012;21(8):1808-1823.
Mutations in components of the intraflagellar transport (IFT) machinery required for assembly and function of the primary cilium cause a subset of human ciliopathies characterized primarily by skeletal dysplasia. Recently, mutations in the IFT-A gene IFT144 have been described in patients with Sensenbrenner and Jeune syndromes, which are associated with short ribs and limbs, polydactyly and craniofacial defects. Here, we describe an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-derived mouse mutant with a hypomorphic missense mutation in the Ift144 gene. The mutant twinkle-toes (Ift144twt) phenocopies a number of the skeletal and craniofacial anomalies seen in patients with human skeletal ciliopathies. Like other IFT-A mouse mutants, Ift144 mutant embryos display a generalized ligand-independent expansion of hedgehog (Hh) signalling, in spite of defective ciliogenesis and an attenuation of the ability of mutant cells to respond to upstream stimulation of the pathway. This enhanced Hh signalling is consistent with cleft palate and polydactyly phenotypes in the Ift144twt mutant, although extensive rib branching, fusion and truncation phenotypes correlate with defects in early somite patterning and may reflect contributions from multiple signalling pathways. Analysis of embryos harbouring a second allele of Ift144 which represents a functional null, revealed a dose-dependent effect on limb outgrowth consistent with the short-limb phenotypes characteristic of these ciliopathies. This allelic series of mouse mutants provides a unique opportunity to uncover the underlying mechanistic basis of this intriguing subset of ciliopathies.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr613
PMCID: PMC3313797  PMID: 22228095
2.  A genome-wide screen for modifiers of transgene variegation identifies genes with critical roles in development 
Genome Biology  2008;9(12):R182.
An extended ENU screen for modifiers of transgene variegation identified four new modifiers, MommeD7-D10.
Background
Some years ago we established an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea screen for modifiers of transgene variegation in the mouse and a preliminary description of the first six mutant lines, named MommeD1-D6, has been published. We have reported the underlying genes in three cases: MommeD1 is a mutation in SMC hinge domain containing 1 (Smchd1), a novel modifier of epigenetic gene silencing; MommeD2 is a mutation in DNA methyltransferase 1 (Dnmt1); and MommeD4 is a mutation in Smarca 5 (Snf2h), a known chromatin remodeler. The identification of Dnmt1 and Smarca5 attest to the effectiveness of the screen design.
Results
We have now extended the screen and have identified four new modifiers, MommeD7-D10. Here we show that all ten MommeDs link to unique sites in the genome, that homozygosity for the mutations is associated with severe developmental abnormalities and that heterozygosity results in phenotypic abnormalities and reduced reproductive fitness in some cases. In addition, we have now identified the underlying genes for MommeD5 and MommeD10. MommeD5 is a mutation in Hdac1, which encodes histone deacetylase 1, and MommeD10 is a mutation in Baz1b (also known as Williams syndrome transcription factor), which encodes a transcription factor containing a PHD-type zinc finger and a bromodomain. We show that reduction in the level of Baz1b in the mouse results in craniofacial features reminiscent of Williams syndrome.
Conclusions
These results demonstrate the importance of dosage-dependent epigenetic reprogramming in the development of the embryo and the power of the screen to provide mouse models to study this process.
doi:10.1186/gb-2008-9-12-r182
PMCID: PMC2646286  PMID: 19099580

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