Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCT) are sex limited, occurring only in males with a Y chromosome. Recently, the gr/gr deletion on the human Y chromosome was associated with increased risk of TGCTs. In addition, the presence of Y chromosome sequences is associated with TGCTs in cases of gonadal dysgenesis. TGCTs in strain 129 males recapitulate many aspects of testicular cancer in human infants and can be used to evaluate the role of the Y chromosome in TGCT risk. We used chromosome substitution strains and a sex-reversing mutant to test the role of the Y chromosome on TGCT susceptibility. Our results show that a Y-linked gene that does not differ among the tested strains is essential for tumorigenesis.
Disruption of cellular processes affected by multiple genes and accumulation of numerous insults throughout life dictate the progression of age-related disorders, but their complex etiology is poorly understood. Postmitotic neurons, such as photoreceptor cells in the retina and epithelial cells in the adjacent retinal pigmented epithelium, are especially susceptible to cellular senescence, which contributes to age-related retinal degeneration (ARD). The multigenic and complex etiology of ARD in humans is reflected by the relative paucity of effective compounds for its early prevention and treatment. To understand the genetic differences that drive ARD pathogenesis, we studied A/J mice, which develop ARD more pronounced than that in other inbred mouse models. Although our investigation of consomic strains failed to identify a chromosome associated with the observed retinal deterioration, pathway analysis of RNA-Seq data from young mice prior to retinal pathological changes revealed that increased vulnerability to ARD in A/J mice was due to initially high levels of inflammatory factors and low levels of homeostatic neuroprotective factors. The genetic signatures of an uncompensated preinflammatory state and ARD progression identified here aid in understanding the susceptible genetic loci that underlie pathogenic mechanisms of age-associated disorders, including several human blinding diseases.
Despite strong heritability, little is known about the genetic control of susceptibility to testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) in humans or mice. Although the mouse model of spontaneous TGCTs has been extensively studied, conventional linkage analysis has failed to locate the factors that control both teratocarcinogenesis in the susceptible 129 family of inbred strains. As an alternative approach, we used both chromosome substitution strains (CSSs) to identify individual chromosomes that harbor susceptibility genes, and a panel of congenic strains derived from a selected CSS to determine the number and location of susceptibility variants on the substituted chromosome. We showed that 129-Chr 18MOLF males are resistant to spontaneous TGCTs and that at least four genetic variants control susceptibility in males with this substituted chromosome. In addition, early embryonic cells from this strain fail to establish embryonic stem (ES) cell lines as efficiently as those from the parental 129/Sv strain. For the first time, 129-derived genetic variants that control TGCT susceptibility and fundamental aspects of ES cell biology have been localized in a genetic context where the genes can be identified and functionally characterized.
The objective of this work was to identify strain-specific characteristics from real-time measurements of circadian rhythms of two inbred mouse strains. In particular, heart rate, temperature, and activity data collected from A/J and C57BL/6J (B6) mice using telemetry are analyzed. The influence of activity on heart rate and temperature is minimized by correlation analysis followed by regression analysis. The correlation analysis is used to determine the length of the activity data filter that results in the best correlation between activity data and heart rate or temperature. After the activity data are filtered, they are used in regression analysis. The temperature and heart rate rhythms obtained as the intercepts of the regression analysis are interpreted as the zero-activity rhythms and consequently are good estimates of the circadian rhythms. The circadian temperature rhythms for the B6 mice follow a smoother cosine-like time waveform, whereas those for the A/J mice follow a more square-wave-like waveform. To quantify the difference between these two temperature rhythms, a feature based on Fourier analysis of the time-series data is used. Detrended fluctuation analysis is used to identify features in the heart rate rhythms. The results of this work show that the features for the circadian temperature and heart rate rhythms can be used as distinguishing characteristics of the A/J and B6 strains. This work provides the foundation for future studies directed at investigating the influence of chromosomal substitutions on the regulation of circadian rhythms in these two strains.
Pluripotent stem cells provide a platform to interrogate control elements that function to generate all cell types of the body. Despite their utility for modeling development and disease, the relationship of mouse and human pluripotent stem cell states to one another remains largely undefined. We have shown that mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) are distinct, pluripotent states isolated from pre- and post-implantation embryos respectively. Human ES cells are different than mouse ES cells and share defining features with EpiSCs, yet are derived from pre-implantation human embryos. Here we show that EpiSCs can be routinely derived from pre-implantation mouse embryos. The pre-implantation-derived EpiSCs exhibit molecular features and functional properties consistent with bona fide EpiSCs. These results provide a simple method for isolating EpiSCs and offer direct insight into the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that regulate the acquisition of distinct pluripotent states.
epiblast stem cells; pluripotency; embryonic stem cells; blastocyst
Crooked tail (Cd) mice bear a gain-of-function mutation in Lrp6, a co-receptor for canonical WNT signaling, and are a model of neural tube defects (NTDs), preventable with dietary folic acid (FA) supplementation. Whether the FA response reflects a direct influence of FA on LRP6 function was tested with prenatal supplementation in LRP6-deficient embryos. The enriched FA (10 ppm) diet reduced the occurrence of birth defects among all litters compared with the control (2 ppm FA) diet, but did so by increasing early lethality of Lrp6−/− embryos while actually increasing NTDs among nulls alive at embryonic days 10–13 (E10–13). Proliferation in cranial neural folds was reduced in homozygous Lrp6−/− mutants versus wild-type embryos at E10, and FA supplementation increased proliferation in wild-type but not mutant neuroepithelia. Canonical WNT activity was reduced in LRP6-deficient midbrain–hindbrain at E9.5, demonstrated in vivo by a TCF/LEF-reporter transgene. FA levels in media modulated the canonical WNT response in NIH3T3 cells, suggesting that although FA was required for optimal WNT signaling, even modest FA elevations attenuated LRP5/6-dependent canonical WNT responses. Gene expression analysis in embryos and adults showed striking interactions between targeted Lrp6 deficiency and FA supplementation, especially for mitochondrial function, folate and methionine metabolism, WNT signaling and cytoskeletal regulation that together implicate relevant signaling and metabolic pathways supporting cell proliferation, morphology and differentiation. We propose that FA supplementation rescues Lrp6Cd/Cd fetuses by normalizing hyperactive WNT activity, whereas in LRP6-deficient embryos, added FA further attenuates reduced WNT activity, thereby compromising development.
Current treatments have largely failed to slow the rapidly increasing world-wide prevalence of obesity and its co-morbidities. Despite a strong genetic contribution to obesity (40–70%), only a small percentage of heritability is explained with current knowledge of monogenic abnormalities, common sequence variants and conventional modes of inheritance. Epigenetic effects are rarely tested in humans because of difficulties arranging studies that distinguish conventional and transgenerational inheritance while simultaneously controlling environmental factors and learned behaviors. However, growing evidence from model organisms implicates genetic and environmental factors in one generation that affect phenotypes in subsequent generations. In this report, we provide the first evidence for paternal transgenerational genetic effects on body weight and food intake. This test focused on the obesity-resistant 6C2d congenic strain, which carries the Obrq2aA/J allele on an otherwise C57BL/6J background. Various crosses between 6C2d and the control C57BL/6J strain showed that the Obrq2aA/J allele in the paternal or grandpaternal generation was sufficient to inhibit diet-induced obesity and reduce food intake in the normally obesity-susceptible, high food intake C57BL/6J strain. These obesity-resistant and reduced food intake phenotypes were transmitted through the paternal lineage but not the maternal lineage with equal strength for at least two generations. Eliminating social interaction between the father and both his offspring and the pregnant dam did not significantly affect food intake levels, demonstrating that the phenotype is transmitted through the male germline rather than through social interactions. Persistence of these phenotypes across multiple generations raises the possibility that transgenerational genetic effects contribute to current metabolic conditions.
Testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) originate from germ cells. The 129-Ter and M19 (129.MOLF-Chr19 consomic) mouse strains have extremely high incidences of TGCTs. We found that the expression levels of Sf1 encoded Splicing factor 1 (SF1) can modulate the incidence of TGCTs. We generated mice with inactivated Sf1. Sf1 null mice (Sf1-/-) died before birth. Mice with one intact allele of Sf1 (Sf1+/-) were viable but expressed reduced levels of Sf1. When Sf1 deficient mice (Sf1+/-) were crossed to the 129-Ter and M19 strains, we observed decreased incidence of TGCTs in Sf1+/-;Ter and Sf1+/-;M19/+ mice compared to that in control cohorts. Therefore, Sf1 deficiency protects against TGCT development in both strains. Sf1 is expressed in the testes. We found that Sf1 levels vary significantly in the testes of inbred strains such as 129 and MOLF and as such Sf1 is an oncogenic tumor susceptibility factor from 129. Our results also highlight the complications involved in evaluating Sf1 levels and TGCT incidences. When a large number of tumor promoting factors are present in a strain, the protective effect of lower Sf1 levels is masked. However, when the dosage of tumor promoting factors is reduced, the protective effect of lower Sf1 levels becomes apparent. SF1 is involved in splicing of specific pre-mRNAs in cells. Alternate splicing generates the complex proteosome in eukaryotic cells. Our data indicates that Sf1 levels in mouse strains correlate with their incidences of TGCTs and implicate the importance of splicing mechanisms in germ cell tumorigenesis.
To identify genes affecting bone strength, we studied how genetic variants regulate components of a phenotypic covariation network that was previously shown to accurately characterize the compensatory trait interactions involved in functional adaptation during growth. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) regulating femoral robustness, morphologic compensation, and mineralization (tissue quality) were mapped at three ages during growth using AXB/BXA Recombinant Inbred (RI) mouse strains and adult B6-iA Chromosome Substitution Strains (CSS). QTLs for robustness were identified on chromosomes 8, 12, 18, and 19 and confirmed at all three ages, indicating that genetic variants established robustness postnatally without further modification. A QTL for morphologic compensation, which was measured as the relationship between cortical area and body weight, was identified on chromosome 8. This QTL limited the amount of bone formed during growth and thus acted as a setpoint for diaphyseal bone mass. Additional QTLs were identified from the CSS analysis. QTLs for robustness and morphologic compensation regulated bone structure independently (ie, in a nonpleiotropic manner), indicating that each trait may be targeted separately to individualize treatments aiming to improve strength. Multiple regression analyses showed that variation in morphologic compensation and tissue quality, not bone size, determined femoral strength relative to body weight. Thus an individual inheriting slender bones will not necessarily inherit weak bones unless the individual also inherits a gene that impairs compensation. This systems genetic analysis showed that genetically determined phenotype covariation networks control bone strength, suggesting that incorporating functional adaptation into genetic analyses will advance our understanding of the genetic basis of bone strength. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
systems genetics; recombinant inbred mouse strains; bone; morphology; biomechanics; growth; phenotypic covariation; QTL; strength; chromosome substitution strains
Cancer susceptibility results from interactions between sensitivity and resistance alleles. We employed murine chromosome substitution strains to study how resistance alleles affected sensitive alleles during chemically-induced lung carcinogenesis. The C57BL/6J-Chr#A/J strains, constructed by selectively breeding sensitive A/J and resistant C57BL/6J (B6) mice, each contain one pair of A/J chromosomes within an otherwise B6 genome. Pas1, the major locus responsible for this differential strain response to urethane carcinogenesis, resides on Chr 6, but C57BL/6J-Chr6A/J mice (hereafter CSS-6) developed few tumors following a single urethane injection, which demonstrates epistatic interactions with other B6 alleles. CSS6 mice developed dozens of lung tumors after chronic urethane exposure, however, indicating that these epistatic interactions could be overcome by repeated carcinogen administration. Unlike A/J, but similar to B6 mice, CSS6 mice were resistant to lung carcinogenesis induced by 3-methylcholanthrene (MCA). Tumor multiplicity increased if BHT administration followed urethane exposure, showing that a Chr 6 gene(s) regulates sensitivity to chemically-induced tumor promotion. Unlike A/J tumors (predominantly codon 61 A→ T transversions), Kras mutations in tumors induced by urethane in CSS-6 mice were similar to B6 tumors (codon 61 A→G transitions). DNA repair genes not located on Chr 6 may determine the nature of Kras mutations. CSS-6 mice are a valuable resource for testing the ability of candidate genes to modulate lung carcinogenesis.
Traditionally, we understand that individual phenotypes result primarily from inherited genetic variants together with environmental exposures. However, many studies showed that a remarkable variety of factors including environmental agents, parental behaviors, maternal physiology, xenobiotics, nutritional supplements and others lead to epigenetic changes that can be transmitted to subsequent generations without continued exposure. Recent discoveries show transgenerational epistasis and transgenerational genetic effects where genetic factors in one generation affect phenotypes in subsequent generation without inheritance of the genetic variant in the parents. Together these discoveries implicate a key signaling pathway, chromatin remodeling, methylation, RNA editing and microRNA biology. This exceptional mode of inheritance complicates the search for disease genes and represents perhaps an adaptation to transmit useful gene expression profiles from one generation to the next. In this review, I present evidence for these transgenerational genetic effects, identify their common features, propose a heuristic model to guide the search for mechanisms, discuss the implications, and pose questions whose answers will begin to reveal the underlying mechanisms.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide, with ∼70% of cases resulting from hepatitis B and C viral infections, aflatoxin exposure, chronic alcohol use or genetic liver diseases. The remaining ∼30% of cases are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic diseases, although a direct link between these pathologies and HCCs has not been established. We tested the long-term effects of high-fat and low-fat diets on males of two inbred strains of mice and discovered that C57BL/6J but not A/J males were susceptible to non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and HCC on a high-fat but not low-fat diet. This strain–diet interaction represents an important model for genetically controlled, diet-induced HCC. Susceptible mice showed morphological characteristics of NASH (steatosis, hepatitis, fibrosis and cirrhosis), dysplasia and HCC. mRNA profiles of HCCs versus tumor-free liver showed involvement of two signaling networks, one centered on Myc and the other on NFκB, similar to signaling described for the two major classes of HCC in humans. miRNA profiles revealed dramatically increased expression of a cluster of miRNAs on the X chromosome without amplification of the chromosomal segment. A switch from high-fat to low-fat diet reversed these outcomes, with switched C57BL/6J males being lean rather than obese and without evidence for NASH or HCCs at the end of the study. A similar diet modification may have important implications for prevention of HCCs in humans.
Two overlapping quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for clot stability, Hmtb8 and Hmtb9, were identified on mouse chromosome 17 in an F2 intercross derived from C57BL/6J (B6) and B6-Chr17A/J (B6-Chr17) mouse strains. The intervals were in synteny with a QTL for thrombotic susceptibility on chromosome 18 in a human study, and there were 23 homologs between mouse and human. The objective of this study was to determine whether any of these genes in the syntenic region are likely candidates as modifiers for clot stability. Seven genes, Twsg1, Zfp161, Dlgap1, Ralbp1, Myom1, Rab31, and Emilin2, of the 23 genes with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the mRNA-UTR had differential expression in B6 and A/J mice. Dlgap1, Ralbp1, Myom1, and Emilin2 also had nonsynonymous SNPs. In addition, two other genes had nonsynonymous SNPs, Lama1 and Ndc80. Of these nine candidate genes, Emilin2 was selected for further analysis since other EMILIN (Elastin Microfibril Interface Located Protein) proteins have known functions in vascular structure and coagulation. Differences were found between B6 and A/J mice in vessel wall architecture and EMILIN2 protein in plasma, carotid vessel wall, and thrombi formed after ferric chloride injury. In B6-Chr17A/J mice both clot stability and Emilin2 mRNA expression were higher compared to those in B6 and A/J mice, suggesting the exposure of epistatic interactions. Although other homologous genes in the QTL region cannot be ruled out as causative genes, further investigation of Emilin2 as a candidate gene for thrombosis susceptibility is warranted.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00335-010-9274-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
A homozygous nonsense mutation (Ter) in murine Dnd1 (Dnd1Ter/Ter) results in a significant early loss of primordial germ cells (PGCs) prior to colonization of the gonad in both sexes and all genetic backgrounds tested. The same mutation also leads to testicular teratomas only on the 129Sv/J background. Male mutants on other genetic backgrounds ultimately lose all PGCs with no incidence of teratoma formation. It is not clear how these PGCs are lost or what factors directly control the strain-specific phenotype variation. To determine the mechanism underlying early PGC loss we crossed Dnd1Ter/Ter embryos to a Bax-null background and found that germ cells were partially rescued. Surprisingly, on a mixed genetic background, rescued male germ cells also generated fully developed teratomas at a high rate. Double-mutant females on a mixed background did not develop teratomas, but were fertile and produced viable off-spring. However, when Dnd1Ter/Ter XX germ cells developed in a testicular environment they gave rise to the same neoplastic clusters as mutant XY germ cells in a testis. We conclude that BAX-mediated apoptosis plays a role in early germ cell loss and protects from testicular teratoma formation on a mixed genetic background.
Dnd1; Ter; testicular teratoma; teratocarcinoma; testicular germ cell tumor
The agouti-yellow (Ay) deletion is the only genetic modifier known to suppress testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) susceptibility in mice or humans. The Ay mutation deletes Raly and Eif2s2, and induces the ectopic expression of agouti, all of which are potential TGCT-modifying mutations. Here we report that the reduced TGCT incidence of heterozygous Ay males and the recessive embryonic lethality of Ay are caused by the deletion of Eif2s2, the beta subunit of translation initiation factor eIF2. We found that the incidence of affected males was reduced 2-fold in mice that were partially deficient for Eif2s2 and that embryonic lethality occurred near the time of implantation in mice that were fully deficient for Eif2s2. In contrast, neither reduced expression of Raly in gene-trap mice nor ectopic expression of agouti in transgenic or viable-yellow (Avy) mutants affected TGCT incidence or embryonic viability. In addition, we provide evidence that partial deficiency of Eif2s2 attenuated germ cell proliferation and differentiation, both of which are important to TGCT formation. These results show that germ cell development and TGCT pathogenesis are sensitive to the availability of the eIF2 translation initiation complex and to changes in the rate of translation.
Several genetic variants act as modifiers of testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT) susceptibility in the 129/Sv mouse model of human pediatric TGCTs. One such modifier, the Steel locus, encodes the transmembrane-bound and soluble ligand of the kit receptor. Some (Sl and SlJ) but not all (Sld) mutations of the Steel locus increase TGCT incidence in heterozygous mutant mice. Because Sl and SlJ are large deletions that affect multiple transcripts and Sld is an intragenic deletion of the kit ligand (Kitl) from which only the soluble protein is produced, it was uncertain whether Kitl or a neighboring gene is a modifier of TGCT susceptibility. We tested the effect of the small Steel grizzle-belly (Slgb) deletion on TGCT susceptibility to determine whether Kitl is a TGCT modifier gene. An increase in TGCT incidence was observed in Slgb/+ heterozygotes and fine-mapping of the deletion breakpoints revealed that Kitl is the only conventional gene deleted by the mutation, suggesting that Kitl is the TGCT modifier gene at the Steel locus. Additionally, we propose that soluble KITL in Sld/+ heterozygous mutant mice complements a dosage effect of transmembrane-associated KITL on TGCT susceptibility and that the kit receptor (Kit) is haplosufficient for primordial germ cell (PGC) development.
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a devastating condition resulting from diverse causes. Genetic studies of human populations indicate that ALI is a complex disease with substantial phenotypic variance, incomplete penetrance, and gene–environment interactions. To identify genes controlling ALI mortality, we previously investigated mean survival time (MST) differences between sensitive A/J (A) and resistant C57BL/6J (B) mice in ozone using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis. MST was significantly linked to QTLs (Aliq1-3) on chromosomes 11, 13, and 17, respectively. Additional QTL analyses of separate and combined backcross and F2 populations supported linkage to Aliq1 and Aliq2, and established significance for previously suggestive QTLs on chromosomes 7 and 12 (named Aliq5 and Aliq6, respectively). Decreased MSTs of corresponding chromosome substitution strains (CSSs) verified the contribution of most QTL-containing chromosomes to ALI survival. Multilocus models demonstrated that three QTLs could explain the MST difference between progenitor strains, agreeing with calculated estimates for number of genes involved. Based on results of QTL genotype analysis, a double CSS (B.A-6,11) was generated that contained Aliq1 and Aliq4 chromosomes. Surprisingly, MST and pulmonary edema after exposure of B.A-6,11 mice were comparable to B mice, revealing an unpredicted loss of sensitivity compared with separate CSSs. Reciprocal congenic lines for Aliq1 captured the corresponding phenotype in both background strains and further refined the QTL interval. Together, these findings support most of the previously identified QTLs linked to ALI survival and established lines of mice to further resolve Aliq1.
acute respiratory distress syndrome; chromosome substitution strain; congenic; mean survival; pulmonary edema
The Ter mutation causes primordial germ cell (PGC) loss on all mouse genetic backgrounds (Fig. 1a) with deficiency of PGCs1 starting at embryonic day 8. Ter is also a potent modifier of spontaneous testicular germ cell tumour (TGCT) susceptibility in the 129 family of inbred strains and increases TGCT incidence from a baseline rate of 5% in 129 to 94% in 129-Ter/Ter males2-4 (Figs. 1b & c). In 129, some of the remaining PGCs transform into undifferentiated pluripotent embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells2-6 and after birth they differentiate into various cells and tissues that compose TGCTs. Positional cloning of Ter revealed a point mutation that introduces a termination codon in the mouse ortholog (Dnd1) of the zebrafish dead-end (dnd) gene. PGC deficiency is corrected both with BACs that contain Dnd1 and with a Dnd1 encoding transgene. Dnd1 is expressed in fetal gonads during the critical period when TGCTs originate. DND1 has an RNA recognition motif (RRM) and is most similar to the apobec complementation factor (Acf), a component of the cytidine to uridine RNA editing complex. These results suggest that Ter may adversely affect essential aspects of RNA biology during PGC development. DND1 is the first protein with an RRM that is directly implicated as a heritable cause of spontaneous tumourigenesis. TGCT development of the 129-Ter strain models pediatric TGCT in humans. This work will have important implications for our understanding of the genetic control of TGCT pathogenesis and PGC biology.
We examined femora from adult AXB/BXA recombinant inbred (RI) mouse strains to identify skeletal traits that are functionally related and to determine how functional interactions among these traits contribute to genetic variability in whole-bone stiffness, strength, and toughness. Randomization of A/J and C57BL/6J genomic regions resulted in each adult male and female RI strain building mechanically functional femora by assembling unique sets of morphologic and tissue-quality traits. A correlation analysis was conducted using the mean trait values for each RI strain. A third of the 66 correlations examined were significant, indicating that many bone traits covaried or were functionally related. Path analysis revealed important functional interactions among bone slenderness, cortical thickness, and tissue mineral density. The path coefficients describing these functional relations were similar for both sexes. The causal relationship among these three traits suggested that cellular processes during growth simultaneously regulate bone slenderness, cortical thickness, and tissue mineral density so that the combination of traits is sufficiently stiff and strong to satisfy daily loading demands. A disadvantage of these functional interactions was that increases in tissue mineral density also deleteriously affected tissue ductility. Consequently, slender bones with high mineral density may be stiff and strong but they are also brittle. Thus, genetically randomized mouse strains revealed a basic biological paradigm that allows for flexibility in building bones that are functional for daily activities but that creates preferred sets of traits under extreme loading conditions. Genetic or environmental perturbations that alter these functional interactions during growth would be expected to lead to loss of function and suboptimal adult bone quality.
Thrombosis is the fatal and disabling consequence of cardiovascular diseases, the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Western countries. Two inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6J and A/J, have marked differences in susceptibility to obesity, atherosclerosis, and vessel remodeling. However, it is unclear how these diverse genetic backgrounds influence pathways known to regulate thrombosis and hemostasis. The objective of this study was to evaluate thrombosis and hemostasis in these two inbred strains and determine the phenotypic response of A/J chromosomes in the C57BL/6J background.
A/J and C57Bl/6J mice were evaluated for differences in thrombosis and hemostasis. A thrombus was induced in the carotid artery by application of the exposed carotid to ferric chloride and blood flow measured until the vessel occluded. Bleeding and rebleeding times, as surrogate markers for thrombosis and hemostasis, were determined after clipping the tail and placing in warm saline. Twenty-one chromosome substitution strains, A/J chromosomes in a C57BL/6J background, were screened for response to the tail bleeding assay.
Thrombus occlusion time was markedly decreased in the A/J mice compared to C57BL/6J mice. Tail bleeding time was similar in the two strains, but rebleeding time was markedly increased in the A/J mice compared to C57BL/6J mice. Coagulation times and tail morphology were similar, but tail collagen content was higher in A/J than C57BL/6J mice. Three chromosome substitution strains, B6-Chr5A/J, B6-Chr11A/J, and B6-Chr17A/J, were identified with increased rebleeding time, a phenotype similar to A/J mice. Mice heterosomic for chromosomes 5 or 17 had rebleeding times similar to C57BL/6J mice, but when these two chromosome substitution strains, B6-Chr5A/J and B6-Chr17A/J, were crossed, the A/J phenotype was restored in these doubly heterosomic progeny.
These results indicate that susceptibility to arterial thrombosis and haemostasis is remarkably different in C57BL/and A/J mice. Three A/J chromosome substitution strains were identified that expressed a phenotype similar to A/J for rebleeding, the C57Bl/6J background could modify the A/J phenotype, and the combination of two A/J QTL could restore the phenotype. The diverse genetic backgrounds and differences in response to vascular injury induced thrombosis and the tail bleeding assay, suggest the potential for identifying novel genetic determinants of thrombotic risk.
Susceptibility to thrombosis varies in human populations as well as many in inbred mouse strains. The objective of this study was to characterize the genetic control of thrombotic risk on three chromosomes. Previously, utilizing a tail-bleeding/rebleeding assay as a surrogate of hemostasis and thrombosis function, three mouse chromosome substitution strains (CSS) (B6-Chr5A/J, Chr11A/J, Chr17A/J) were identified (Hmtb1, Hmtb2, Hmtb3). The tailbleeding/rebleeding assay is widely used and distinguishes mice with genetic defects in blood clot formation or dissolution. In the present study, quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis revealed a significant locus for rebleeding (clot stability) time (time between cessation of initial bleeding and start of the second bleeding) on chromosome 5, suggestive loci for bleeding time (time between start of bleeding and cessation of bleeding) also on chromosomes 5, and two suggestive loci for clot stability on chromosome 17 and one on chromosome 11. The three CSS and the parent A/J had elevated clot stability time. There was no interaction of genes on chromosome 11 with genes on chromosome 5 or chromosome 17. On chromosome 17, twenty-three candidate genes were identified in synteny with previously identified loci for thrombotic risk on human chromosome 18. Thus, we have identified new QTLs and candidate genes not previously known to influence thrombotic risk.
We propose an innovative, integrated, cost-effective health system to combat major non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular, chronic respiratory, metabolic, rheumatologic and neurologic disorders and cancers, which together are the predominant health problem of the 21st century. This proposed holistic strategy involves comprehensive patient-centered integrated care and multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-level systems approaches to tackle NCDs as a common group of diseases. Rather than studying each disease individually, it will take into account their intertwined gene-environment, socio-economic interactions and co-morbidities that lead to individual-specific complex phenotypes. It will implement a road map for predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory (P4) medicine based on a robust and extensive knowledge management infrastructure that contains individual patient information. It will be supported by strategic partnerships involving all stakeholders, including general practitioners associated with patient-centered care. This systems medicine strategy, which will take a holistic approach to disease, is designed to allow the results to be used globally, taking into account the needs and specificities of local economies and health systems.
Although recent genome-wide studies have provided valuable insights into the genetic basis of human disease, they have explained relatively little of the heritability of most complex traits, and the variants identified through these studies have small effect sizes. This has led to the important and hotly debated issue of where the ‘missing heritability’ of complex diseases might be found. Here, seven leading geneticists offer their opinion about where this heritability is likely to lie, what this could tell us about the underlying genetic architecture of common diseases and how this could inform research strategies for uncovering genetic risk factors.
Compensatory interactions among adult skeletal traits are critical for establishing strength but complicate the search for fracture susceptibility genes by allowing many genetic variants to exist in a population without loss of function. A better understanding of how these interactions arise during growth will provide new insight into genotype-phenotype relationships and the biological controls that establish skeletal strength. We tested the hypothesis that genetic variants affecting growth in width relative to growth in length (slenderness) are coordinated with movement of the inner bone surface and matrix mineralization to match stiffness with weight-bearing loads during postnatal growth. Midshaft femoral morphology and tissue-mineral density were quantified at ages of 1 day and at 4, 8, and 16 weeks for a panel of 20 female AXB/BXA recombinant inbred mouse strains. Path Analyses revealed significant compensatory interactions among outer-surface expansion rate, inner-surface expansion rate, and tissue-mineral density during postnatal growth, indicating that genetic variants affecting bone slenderness were buffered mechanically by the precise regulation of bone surface movements and matrix mineralization. Importantly, the covariation between morphology and mineralization resulted from a heritable constraint limiting the amount of tissue that could be used to construct a functional femur. The functional interactions during growth explained 56-99% of the variability in adult traits and mechanical properties. These functional interactions provide quantitative expectations of how genetic or environmental variants affecting one trait should be compensated by changes in other traits. Variants that impair this process or that cannot be fully compensated are expected to alter skeletal growth leading to underdesigned (weak) or overdesigned (bulky) structures.
Methods for accurate identification of nucleotide and structural variation using de novo short read sequencing of mouse chromosomes are described.
Genome sequences are essential tools for comparative and mutational analyses. Here we present the short read sequence of mouse chromosome 17 from the Mus musculus domesticus derived strain A/J, and the Mus musculus castaneus derived strain CAST/Ei. We describe approaches for the accurate identification of nucleotide and structural variation in the genomes of vertebrate experimental organisms, and show how these techniques can be applied to help prioritize candidate genes within quantitative trait loci.