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1.  Microtomographic Analysis of Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction 
Prenatal obstruction of the lower urinary tract may result in megacystis, with subsequent development of hydro-ureter, hydronephrosis, and renal damage. Oligo- or anhydramnios, pulmonary hypoplasia, and prune belly syndrome are lethal consequences. Causes and mechanisms responsible for obstruction remain unclear but might be clarified by anatomic study at autopsy. To this end, we employed 2 methods of tomographic imaging—optical projection tomography and contrast-enhanced microCT scanning—to elucidate the anatomy of the intact urinary bladder and urethra in 10 male fetuses with lower urinary tract obstruction. Images were compared with those from 9 age-matched controls. Three-dimensional images, rotated and sectioned digitally in multiple planes, permitted thorough examination while preserving specimens for later study. Both external and internal features of the bladder and urethra were demonstrated; small structures (ie, urethral crest, verumontanum, prostatic utricle, ejaculatory ducts) were seen in detail. Types of obstruction consisted of urethral atresia (n = 5), severe urethral stenosis (n = 2), urethral diaphragm (n = 2), or physical kinking (n = 1); classic (Young type I) posterior urethral valves were not encountered. Traditional light microscopy was then used to verify tomographic findings. The prostate gland was hypoplastic or absent in all cases; in 1, prostatic tissue was displaced inferior to the verumontanum. Findings support previous views that dissection may produce valve-like artifacts (eg, bisection of an obstructing diaphragm) and that deformation of an otherwise normal urethra may result in megacystis. The designation “posterior urethral valves” should not be used as a generic expression of urethral obstruction unless actual valves are demonstrated.
doi:10.2350/13-08-1359-OA.1
PMCID: PMC3965709  PMID: 23977847
lower urinary tract obstruction; microCT scanning; optical projection tomography; posterior urethral valves; prune belly syndrome; urethral atresia
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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