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1.  The Multicopper Ferroxidase Hephaestin Enhances Intestinal Iron Absorption in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98792.
Hephaestin is a vertebrate multicopper ferroxidase important for the transfer of dietary iron from intestinal cells to the blood. Hephaestin is mutated in the sex-linked anemia mouse, resulting in iron deficiency. However, sex-linked anemia mice still retain some hephaestin ferroxidase activity. They survive, breed, and their anemia improves with age. To gain a better understanding of the role of hephaestin in iron homeostasis, we used the Cre-lox system to generate knockout mouse models with whole body or intestine-specific (Villin promoter) ablation of hephaestin. Both types of mice were viable, indicating that hephaestin is not essential and that other mechanisms, multicopper ferroxidase-dependent or not, must compensate for hephaestin deficiency. The knockout strains, however, both developed a microcytic, hypochromic anemia, suggesting severe iron deficiency and confirming that hephaestin plays an important role in body iron acquisition. Consistent with this, the knockout mice accumulated iron in duodenal enterocytes and had reduced intestinal iron absorption. In addition, the similarities of the phenotypes of the whole body and intestine-specific hephaestin knockout mice clarify the important role of hephaestin specifically in intestinal enterocytes in maintaining whole body iron homeostasis. These mouse models will serve as valuable tools to study the role of hephaestin and associated proteins in iron transport in the small intestine and other tissues.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098792
PMCID: PMC4045767  PMID: 24896847
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

Results 1-2 (2)