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1.  Multipotent pancreas progenitors: Inconclusive but pivotal topic 
World Journal of Stem Cells  2015;7(11):1251-1261.
The establishment of multipotent pancreas progenitors (MPP) should have a significant impact not only on the ontology of the pancreas, but also for the translational research of glucose-responding endocrine β-cells. Deficiency of the latter may lead to the pandemic type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus, a metabolic disorder. An ideal treatment of which would potentially be the replacement of destroyed or failed β-cells, by restoring function of endogenous pancreatic endocrine cells or by transplantation of donor islets or in vitro generated insulin-secreting cells. Thus, considerable research efforts have been devoted to identify MPP candidates in the pre- and post-natal pancreas for the endogenous neogenesis or regeneration of endocrine insulin-secreting cells. In order to advance this inconclusive but critical field, we here review the emerging concepts, recent literature and newest developments of potential MPP and propose measures that would assist its forward progression.
PMCID: PMC4691693  PMID: 26730269
Multipotent pancreas progenitors; Regeneration; Self-renewal; Clonogenesis; Differentiation
2.  Pancreatic Stem Cells Remain Unresolved 
Stem Cells and Development  2014;23(23):2803-2812.
Diabetes mellitus is caused by absolute (type 1) or relative (type 2) deficiency of insulin-secreting islet β cells. An ideal treatment of diabetes would, therefore, be to replace the lost or deficient β cells, by transplantation of donated islets or differentiated endocrine cells or by regeneration of endogenous islet cells. Due to their ability of unlimited proliferation and differentiation into all functional lineages in our body, including β cells, embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are ideally placed as cell sources for a diabetic transplantation therapy. Unfortunately, the inability to generate functional differentiated islet cells from pluripotent stem cells and the poor availability of donor islets have severely restricted the broad clinical use of the replacement therapy. Therefore, endogenous sources that can be directed to becoming insulin-secreting cells are actively sought after. In particular, any cell types in the developing or adult pancreas that may act as pancreatic stem cells (PSC) would provide an alternative renewable source for endogenous regeneration. In this review, we will summarize the latest progress and knowledge of such PSC, and discuss ways that facilitate the future development of this often controversial, but crucial research.
PMCID: PMC4235979  PMID: 25132582
3.  Transcriptome of pancreas-specific Bmpr1a-deleted islets links to TPH1–5-HT axis 
Biology Open  2015;4(8):1016-1023.
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling is crucial for the development and function of numerous organs, but its role on the function of pancreatic islets is not completely clear. To explore this question, we applied the high throughput transcriptomic analyses on the islets isolated from mice with a pancreas-specific deletion of the gene, Bmpr1a, encoding the type 1a BMP receptor. Consistently, these pBmpr1aKO mice had impaired glucose homeostasis at 3 months, and were more severely affected at 12 months of age. These had lower fasting blood insulin concentrations, with reduced expression of several key regulators of β-cell function. Importantly, transcriptomic profiling of 3-month pBmpr1aKO islets and bioinformatic analyses revealed abnormal expression of 203 metabolic genes. Critically among these, the tryptophan hydroxylase 1 gene (Tph1), encoding the rate-limiting enzyme for the production of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) was the highest over-expressed one. 5-HT is an important regulator of insulin secretion from β cells. Treatment with excess 5-HT inhibited this secretion. Thus our transcriptomic analysis links two highly conserved molecular pathways the BMP signaling and the TPH1–5-HT axis on glucose homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4542282  PMID: 26187948
BMPR1A; Transcriptome; Glucose homeostasis; Tph1
4.  The Affymetrix DMET Plus Platform Reveals Unique Distribution of ADME-Related Variants in Ethnic Arabs 
Disease Markers  2015;2015:542543.
Background. The Affymetrix Drug Metabolizing Enzymes and Transporters (DMET) Plus Premier Pack has been designed to genotype 1936 gene variants thought to be essential for screening patients in personalized drug therapy. These variants include the cytochrome P450s (CYP450s), the key metabolizing enzymes, many other enzymes involved in phase I and phase II pharmacokinetic reactions, and signaling mediators associated with variability in clinical response to numerous drugs not only among individuals, but also between ethnic populations. Materials and Methods. We genotyped 600 Saudi individuals for 1936 variants on the DMET platform to evaluate their clinical potential in personalized medicine in ethnic Arabs. Results. Approximately 49% each of the 437 CYP450 variants, 56% of the 581 transporters, 56% of 419 transferases, 48% of the 104 dehydrogenases, and 58% of the remaining 390 variants were detected. Several variants, such as rs3740071, rs6193, rs258751, rs6199, rs11568421, and rs8187797, exhibited significantly either higher or lower minor allele frequencies (MAFs) than those in other ethnic groups. Discussion. The present study revealed some unique distribution trends for several variants in Arabs, which displayed partly inverse allelic prevalence compared to other ethnic populations. The results point therefore to the need to verify and ascertain the prevalence of a variant as a prerequisite for engaging it in clinical routine screening in personalized medicine in any given population.
PMCID: PMC4353852  PMID: 25802476
5.  Functionally distinct PI 3-kinase pathways regulate myelination in the peripheral nervous system 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2014;204(7):1219-1236.
Functionally and spatially distinct PI 3-K pathways act either early to promote myelination downstream of axonal Neuregulin1 or late to inhibit myelination downstream of α6β4 integrin and Sgk1.
The PI 3-kinase (PI 3-K) signaling pathway is essential for Schwann cell myelination. Here we have characterized PI 3-K effectors activated during myelination by probing myelinating cultures and developing nerves with an antibody that recognizes phosphorylated substrates for this pathway. We identified a discrete number of phospho-proteins including the S6 ribosomal protein (S6rp), which is down-regulated at the onset of myelination, and N-myc downstream-regulated gene-1 (NDRG1), which is up-regulated strikingly with myelination. We show that type III Neuregulin1 on the axon is the primary activator of S6rp, an effector of mTORC1. In contrast, laminin-2 in the extracellular matrix (ECM), signaling through the α6β4 integrin and Sgk1 (serum and glucocorticoid-induced kinase 1), drives phosphorylation of NDRG1 in the Cajal bands of the abaxonal compartment. Unexpectedly, mice deficient in α6β4 integrin signaling or Sgk1 exhibit hypermyelination during development. These results identify functionally and spatially distinct PI 3-K pathways: an early, pro-myelinating pathway driven by axonal Neuregulin1 and a later-acting, laminin–integrin-dependent pathway that negatively regulates myelination.
PMCID: PMC3971744  PMID: 24687281
6.  Rapid Identification of Major-Effect Genes Using the Collaborative Cross 
Genetics  2014;198(1):75-86.
The Collaborative Cross (CC) was designed to facilitate rapid gene mapping and consists of hundreds of recombinant inbred lines descended from eight diverse inbred founder strains. A decade in production, it can now be applied to mapping projects. Here, we provide a proof of principle for rapid identification of major-effect genes using the CC. To do so, we chose coat color traits since the location and identity of many relevant genes are known. We ascertained in 110 CC lines six different coat phenotypes: albino, agouti, black, cinnamon, and chocolate coat colors and the white-belly trait. We developed a pipeline employing modifications of existing mapping tools suitable for analyzing the complex genetic architecture of the CC. Together with analysis of the founders’ genome sequences, mapping was successfully achieved with sufficient resolution to identify the causative genes for five traits. Anticipating the application of the CC to complex traits, we also developed strategies to detect interacting genes, testing joint effects of three loci. Our results illustrate the power of the CC and provide confidence that this resource can be applied to complex traits for detection of both qualitative and quantitative trait loci.
PMCID: PMC4174955  PMID: 25236450
The Collaborative Cross; gene mapping; complex traits; genetic analyses; Collaborative Cross (CC); quantitative trait locus mapping; Multiparent Advanced Generation Inter-Cross (MAGIC); multiparental populations; MPP
8.  Definition of High-Risk Type 1 Diabetes HLA-DR and HLA-DQ Types Using Only Three Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms 
Diabetes  2013;62(6):2135-2140.
Evaluating risk of developing type 1 diabetes (T1D) depends on determining an individual’s HLA type, especially of the HLA DRB1 and DQB1 alleles. Individuals positive for HLA-DRB1*03 (DR3) or HLA-DRB1*04 (DR4) with DQB1*03:02 (DQ8) have the highest risk of developing T1D. Currently, HLA typing methods are relatively expensive and time consuming. We sought to determine the minimum number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that could rapidly define the HLA-DR types relevant to T1D, namely, DR3/4, DR3/3, DR4/4, DR3/X, DR4/X, and DRX/X (where X is neither DR3 nor DR4), and could distinguish the highest-risk DR4 type (DR4-DQ8) as well as the non-T1D–associated DR4-DQB1*03:01 type. We analyzed 19,035 SNPs of 10,579 subjects (7,405 from a discovery set and 3,174 from a validation set) from the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium and developed a novel machine learning method to select as few as three SNPs that could define the HLA-DR and HLA-DQ types accurately. The overall accuracy was 99.3%, area under curve was 0.997, true-positive rates were >0.99, and false-positive rates were <0.001. We confirmed the reliability of these SNPs by 10-fold cross-validation. Our approach predicts HLA-DR/DQ types relevant to T1D more accurately than existing methods and is rapid and cost-effective.
PMCID: PMC3661605  PMID: 23378606
9.  Comparison of sequence variants in transcriptomic control regions across 17 mouse genomes 
The laboratory mouse is the most widely used mammalian model organism in biomedical research, so a thorough annotation of functional variation in the mouse genome would be of significant value. In this study, we compared sequence variation in a comprehensive list of functional elements (e.g. promoters, enhancers and CTCF binding sites) across 17 inbred mouse strains. Sequences were derived for ∼300 000 functional elements experimentally identified by the mouse ENCODE project as regulating gene expression in 19 different tissue sources. We aligned sequences for each predicted cis-regulatory element to genomes of 17 mouse strains. This yielded a database comprising ∼5 million aligned sequences, allowing interrogation of sequence variation of functional elements for each of the 19 tissues/cell types in commonly used mouse strains. We also developed an online tool to visualize the genome around each predicted cis-regulatory element in each tissue context and which allows efficient comparison of variation between any two sets of strains. This will be particularly useful in the context of the Collaborative Cross (CC), which was conceived as a powerful new systems genetics resource to accelerate gene discovery. Comprising a large number of inbred strains derived from eight genetically diverse founders, the CC offers rapid mapping and identification of genes that mediate complex traits. We show that, among the 17 sequenced strains, the set of CC founder strains captures the most variability in the ENCODE elements, further emphasizing the value of this resource.
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3958616  PMID: 24647628
10.  Evidence of Gene-Gene Interaction and Age-at-Diagnosis Effects in Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2012;61(11):3012-3017.
The common genetic loci that independently influence the risk of type 1 diabetes have largely been determined. Their interactions with age-at-diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, sex, or the major susceptibility locus, HLA class II, remain mostly unexplored. A large collection of more than 14,866 type 1 diabetes samples (6,750 British diabetic individuals and 8,116 affected family samples of European descent) were genotyped at 38 confirmed type 1 diabetes-associated non-HLA regions and used to test for interaction of association with age-at-diagnosis, sex, and HLA class II genotypes using regression models. The alleles that confer susceptibility to type 1 diabetes at interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL2/4q27 (rs2069763) and renalase, FAD-dependent amine oxidase (RNLS)/10q23.31 (rs10509540), were associated with a lower age-at-diagnosis (P = 4.6 × 10−6 and 2.5 × 10−5, respectively). For both loci, individuals carrying the susceptible homozygous genotype were, on average, 7.2 months younger at diagnosis than those carrying the protective homozygous genotypes. In addition to protein tyrosine phosphatase nonreceptor type 22 (PTPN22), evidence of statistical interaction between HLA class II genotypes and rs3087243 at cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4)/2q33.2 was obtained (P = 7.90 × 10−5). No evidence of differential risk by sex was obtained at any loci (P ≥ 0.01). Statistical interaction effects can be detected in type 1 diabetes although they provide a relatively small contribution to our understanding of the familial clustering of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3478521  PMID: 22891215
11.  Peripheral deletion of self-reactive B cells 
Nature  1991;354(6351):308-311.
B lymphocytes are key participants in the immune response because of their specificity, their ability to take up and present antigens to T cells, and their capacity to differentiate into antibody-secreting cells. To limit reactivity to self antigens, autospecific B cells can be functionally inactivated or deleted1-4. Developing B cells that react with membrane antigens expressed in the bone marrow are deleted from the peripheral lymphocyte pool4-6. It is important to ascertain the fate of B cells that recognize membrane autoantigens expressed exclusively on peripheral tisues because B cells in the peripheral lymphoid organs are phenotypically and functionally distinct from bone-marrow B cells7-9. Here we show that in immunoglobulin-transgenic mice, B cells specific for major histocompatibility complex class I antigen can be deleted if they encounter membrane-bound antigen at a post-bone-marrow stage of development. This deletion may be necessary to prevent organ-specific autoimmunity.
PMCID: PMC3787863  PMID: 1956380
12.  The stretcher spontaneous neurodegenerative mutation models Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4D 
F1000Research  2013;2:46.
Mice affected by a spontaneous mutation which arose within our colony exhibited a neuromuscular phenotype involving tremor and characteristic stretching of the rear limbs. The mutant, named stretcher, was used to breed a backcross cohort for genetic mapping studies. The gene responsible for the mutant phenotype was mapped to a small region on mouse chromosome 15, with a LOD score above 20. Candidate genes within the region included the Ndrg1 gene. Examination of this gene in the mutant mouse strain revealed that exons 10 to 14 had been deleted. Mutations in the human orthologue are known to result in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4D (CMT4D) a severe early-onset disorder involving Schwann cell dysfunction and extensive demyelination. The stretcher mutant mouse is more severely affected than mice in which the Ndrg1 gene had been knocked out by homologous recombination. Our results demonstrate that the Ndrg1 str mutation provides a new model for CMT4D, and demonstrate that exons 10 to 14 of Ndrg1 encode amino acids crucial to the appropriate function of Ndrg1 in the central nervous system.
PMCID: PMC3976107  PMID: 24715951
13.  Complete Diabetes Protection Despite Delayed Thymic Tolerance in NOD8.3 TCR Transgenic Mice Due to Antigen-Induced Extrathymic Deletion of T Cells 
Diabetes  2012;61(2):425-435.
Prevention of autoimmunity requires the elimination of self-reactive T cells during their development in the thymus and maturation in the periphery. Transgenic NOD mice that overexpress islet-specific glucose 6 phosphatase catalytic subunit–related protein (IGRP) in antigen-presenting cells (NOD-IGRP mice) have no IGRP-specific T cells. To study the relative contribution of central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms to deletion of antigen-specific T cells, we crossed NOD-IGRP mice to highly diabetogenic IGRP206–214 T-cell receptor transgenic mice (NOD8.3 mice) and studied the frequency and function of IGRP-specific T cells in the thymus and periphery. Peripheral tolerance was extremely efficient and completely protected NOD-IGRP/NOD8.3 mice from diabetes. Peripheral tolerance was characterized by activation of T cells in peripheral lymphoid tissue where IGRP was expressed followed by activation-induced cell death. Thymectomy showed that thymic output of IGRP-specific transgenic T cells compensated for peripheral deletion to maintain peripheral T-cell numbers. Central tolerance was undetectable until 10 weeks and complete by 15 weeks. These in vivo data indicate that peripheral tolerance alone can protect NOD8.3 mice from autoimmune diabetes and that profound changes in T-cell repertoire can follow subtle changes in thymic antigen presentation.
PMCID: PMC3266425  PMID: 22190647
14.  A novel mutation causing nephronophthisis in the Lewis polycystic kidney rat localises to a conserved RCC1 domain in Nek8 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:393.
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) as a cause of cystic kidney disease is the most common genetic cause of progressive renal failure in children and young adults. NPHP is characterized by abnormal and/or loss of function of proteins associated with primary cilia. Previously, we characterized an autosomal recessive phenotype of cystic kidney disease in the Lewis Polycystic Kidney (LPK) rat.
In this study, quantitative trait locus analysis was used to define a ~1.6Mbp region on rat chromosome 10q25 harbouring the lpk mutation. Targeted genome capture and next-generation sequencing of this region identified a non-synonymous mutation R650C in the NIMA (never in mitosis gene a)- related kinase 8 ( Nek8) gene. This is a novel Nek8 mutation that occurs within the regulator of chromosome condensation 1 (RCC1)-like region of the protein. Specifically, the R650C substitution is located within a G[QRC]LG repeat motif of the predicted seven bladed beta-propeller structure of the RCC1 domain. The rat Nek8 gene is located in a region syntenic to portions of human chromosome 17 and mouse 11. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed abnormally long cilia on LPK kidney epithelial cells, and fluorescence immunohistochemistry for Nek8 protein revealed altered cilia localisation.
When assessed relative to other Nek8 NPHP mutations, our results indicate the whole propeller structure of the RCC1 domain is important, as the different mutations cause comparable phenotypes. This study establishes the LPK rat as a novel model system for NPHP and further consolidates the link between cystic kidney disease and cilia proteins.
PMCID: PMC3441220  PMID: 22899815
Cilia; Directed next generation sequencing; Electron microscopy; Genome capture; Immunohistochemistry; Nek8; NPHP; Polycystic kidney disease
15.  Status and access to the Collaborative Cross population 
Mammalian Genome  2012;23(9-10):706-712.
The Collaborative Cross (CC) is a panel of recombinant inbred lines derived from eight genetically diverse laboratory inbred strains. Recently, the genetic architecture of the CC population was reported based on the genotype of a single male per line, and other publications reported incompletely inbred CC mice that have been used to map a variety of traits. The three breeding sites, in the US, Israel, and Australia, are actively collaborating to accelerate the inbreeding process through marker-assisted inbreeding and to expedite community access of CC lines deemed to have reached defined thresholds of inbreeding. Plans are now being developed to provide access to this novel genetic reference population through distribution centers. Here we provide a description of the distribution efforts by the University of North Carolina Systems Genetics Core, Tel Aviv University, Israel and the University of Western Australia.
PMCID: PMC3463789  PMID: 22847377
16.  Tests for Genetic Interactions in Type 1 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2011;60(3):1030-1040.
Interactions between genetic and environmental factors lead to immune dysregulation causing type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders. Recently, many common genetic variants have been associated with type 1 diabetes risk, but each has modest individual effects. Familial clustering of type 1 diabetes has not been explained fully and could arise from many factors, including undetected genetic variation and gene interactions.
To address this issue, the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium recruited 3,892 families, including 4,422 affected sib-pairs. After genotyping 6,090 markers, linkage analyses of these families were performed, using a novel method and taking into account factors such as genotype at known susceptibility loci.
Evidence for linkage was robust at the HLA and INS loci, with logarithm of odds (LOD) scores of 398.6 and 5.5, respectively. There was suggestive support for five other loci. Stratification by other risk factors (including HLA and age at diagnosis) identified one convincing region on chromosome 6q14 showing linkage in male subjects (corrected LOD = 4.49; replication P = 0.0002), a locus on chromosome 19q in HLA identical siblings (replication P = 0.006), and four other suggestive loci.
This is the largest linkage study reported for any disease. Our data indicate there are no major type 1 diabetes subtypes definable by linkage analyses; susceptibility is caused by actions of HLA and an apparently random selection from a large number of modest-effect loci; and apart from HLA and INS, there is no important susceptibility factor discoverable by linkage methods.
PMCID: PMC3046821  PMID: 21266329
17.  Genetic Analysis of Iron Deficiency Effects on the Mouse Spleen 
Iron homeostasis is crucial to many biological functions in nearly all organisms, with roles ranging from oxygen transport to immune function. Disruption of iron homeostasis may result in iron overload or iron deficiency. Iron deficiency may have severe consequences, including anemia or changes in immune or neurotransmitter systems. Here, we report the variability phenotypic iron tissue loss and splenomegaly as well as the associated quantitative trait loci (QTL), polymorphic areas in the mouse genome which may contain one or more genes that play a role in spleen iron concentration or spleen weight under each dietary treatment. Mice from twenty-six BXD/Ty recombinant inbred strains, including the parent C57BL/6 and DBA/2 strains, were randomly assigned to adequate iron or iron deficient diets at weaning. After 120 days, splenomegaly was measured by spleen weight, and spleen iron was assessed using a modified spectrophotometry technique. QTL analyses and gene expression comparisons were then conducted using the WebQTL GenetNetwork. We observed wide, genetic-based variability in splenomegaly and spleen iron loss in BXD/Ty recombinant inbred strains fed an iron deficient diet. Moreover, we identified several suggestive QTL. Matching our QTL with gene expression data from the spleen revealed candidate genes. Our work shows that individual differences in splenomegaly response to iron deficiency are influenced at least partly by genetic constitution. We propose mechanistic hypotheses by which splenomegaly may result from iron deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3179527  PMID: 21732193
19.  Genome-wide association study and meta-analysis finds over 40 loci affect risk of type 1 diabetes 
Nature genetics  2009;41(6):703-707.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a common autoimmune disorder that arises from the action of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. We report the findings of a new genome-wide association study of T1D, combined in a meta-analysis with two previously published studies. The total sample set included 7,514 cases and 9,045 reference samples. Forty-one distinct genomic locations provided evidence for association to T1D in the meta-analysis (P < 10-6). After excluding previously reported associations, 27 regions were further tested in an independent set of 4,267 cases, 4,463 controls and 2,319 affected sib-pair (ASP) families. Of these, 18 regions were replicated (P < 0.01; overall P < 5 × 10-8) and four additional regions provided nominal evidence of replication (P < 0.05). The many new candidate genes suggested by these results include IL10, IL19, IL20, GLIS3, CD69 and IL27.
PMCID: PMC2889014  PMID: 19430480
20.  Genome-Wide Scan for Linkage to Type 1 Diabetes in 2,496 Multiplex Families From the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium 
Diabetes  2009;58(4):1018-1022.
Type 1 diabetes arises from the actions of multiple genetic and environmental risk factors. Considerable success at identifying common genetic variants that contribute to type 1 diabetes risk has come from genetic association (primarily case-control) studies. However, such studies have limited power to detect genes containing multiple rare variants that contribute significantly to disease risk.
The Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) has assembled a collection of 2,496 multiplex type 1 diabetic families from nine geographical regions containing 2,658 affected sib-pairs (ASPs). We describe the results of a genome-wide scan for linkage to type 1 diabetes in the T1DGC family collection.
Significant evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes was confirmed at the HLA region on chromosome 6p21.3 (logarithm of odds [LOD] = 213.2). There was further evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes on 6q that could not be accounted for by the major linkage signal at the HLA class II loci on chromosome 6p21. Suggestive evidence of linkage (LOD ≥2.2) was observed near CTLA4 on chromosome 2q32.3 (LOD = 3.28) and near INS (LOD = 3.16) on chromosome 11p15.5. Some evidence for linkage was also detected at two regions on chromosome 19 (LOD = 2.84 and 2.54).
Five non–HLA chromosome regions showed some evidence of linkage to type 1 diabetes. A number of previously proposed type 1 diabetes susceptibility loci, based on smaller ASP numbers, showed limited or no evidence of linkage to disease. Low-frequency susceptibility variants or clusters of loci with common alleles could contribute to the linkage signals observed.
PMCID: PMC2661598  PMID: 19136655
21.  Rescue of skeletal muscle α-actin–null mice by cardiac (fetal) α-actin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;185(5):903-915.
Skeletal muscle α-actin (ACTA1) is the major actin in postnatal skeletal muscle. Mutations of ACTA1 cause mostly fatal congenital myopathies. Cardiac α-actin (ACTC) is the major striated actin in adult heart and fetal skeletal muscle. It is unknown why ACTC and ACTA1 expression switch during development. We investigated whether ACTC can replace ACTA1 in postnatal skeletal muscle. Two ACTC transgenic mouse lines were crossed with Acta1 knockout mice (which all die by 9 d after birth). Offspring resulting from the cross with the high expressing line survive to old age, and their skeletal muscles show no gross pathological features. The mice are not impaired on grip strength, rotarod, or locomotor activity. These findings indicate that ACTC is sufficiently similar to ACTA1 to produce adequate function in postnatal skeletal muscle. This raises the prospect that ACTC reactivation might provide a therapy for ACTA1 diseases. In addition, the mouse model will allow analysis of the precise functional differences between ACTA1 and ACTC.
PMCID: PMC2711600  PMID: 19468071
22.  A Human Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility Locus Maps to Chromosome 21q22.3 
Diabetes  2008;57(10):2858-2861.
OBJECTIVE— The Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) has assembled and genotyped a large collection of multiplex families for the purpose of mapping genomic regions linked to type 1 diabetes. In the current study, we tested for evidence of loci associated with type 1 diabetes utilizing genome-wide linkage scan data and family-based association methods.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— A total of 2,496 multiplex families with type 1 diabetes were genotyped with a panel of 6,090 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Evidence of association to disease was evaluated by the pedigree disequilibrium test. Significant results were followed up by genotyping and analyses in two independent sets of samples: 2,214 parent-affected child trio families and a panel of 7,721 case and 9,679 control subjects.
RESULTS— Three of the SNPs most strongly associated with type 1 diabetes localized to previously identified type 1 diabetes risk loci: INS, IFIH1, and KIAA0350. A fourth strongly associated SNP, rs876498 (P = 1.0 × 10−4), occurred in the sixth intron of the UBASH3A locus at chromosome 21q22.3. Support for this disease association was obtained in two additional independent sample sets: families with type 1 diabetes (odds ratio [OR] 1.06 [95% CI 1.00–1.11]; P = 0.023) and case and control subjects (1.14 [1.09–1.19]; P = 7.5 × 10−8).
CONCLUSIONS— The T1DGC 6K SNP scan and follow-up studies reported here confirm previously reported type 1 diabetes associations at INS, IFIH1, and KIAA0350 and identify an additional disease association on chromosome 21q22.3 in the UBASH3A locus (OR 1.10 [95% CI 1.07–1.13]; P = 4.4 × 10−12). This gene and its flanking regions are now validated targets for further resequencing, genotyping, and functional studies in type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2551699  PMID: 18647951
23.  The Rising Incidence of Type 1 Diabetes Is Accounted for by Cases With Lower-Risk Human Leukocyte Antigen Genotypes  
Diabetes Care  2008;31(8):1546-1549.
OBJECTIVE—The rising incidence of type 1 diabetes has been attributed to environment, implying a lesser role for genetic susceptibility. However, the rise could be accounted for by either more cases with classic high-risk genes or by cases with other risk genes. Separately, for any degree of genetic susceptibility, age at presentation may decrease in a permissive environment. To examine these possibilities, human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II DRB1 genes known to confer risk for type 1 diabetes were analyzed in relation to year of birth and age at diagnosis over the last five decades.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Caucasoid subjects (n = 462) diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before age 18 between 1950 and 2005 were DRB1 genotyped.
RESULTS—Mean ± SD age at diagnosis, 8.5 ± 4.5 years, did not differ across decades. Recent diagnosis was associated with a lower proportion but unchanged incidence of the highest-risk DRB1 genotype DR3,4 (2000–2005, 28% vs. 1950–1969, 79%; P < 0.0001) and a higher proportion of lower-risk genotypes DR4,X and DR3,X (2000–2005, 48% vs. 1950–1969, 20%; P = 0.0002). The frequency of the DRX,X genotype was low (≤3%) across decades. Recent birth was associated with a lower age at diagnosis for lower risk DR3,3 and DR4,4 (P < 0.0001) and DR4,X (P < 0.0001) and DR3,X (P = 0.015) genotypes but not for DR3,4.
CONCLUSIONS—The rising incidence and decreasing age at diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is accounted for by the impact of environment on children with lower-risk HLA class II genes, who previously would not have developed type 1 diabetes in childhood.
PMCID: PMC2494654  PMID: 18487476
Neurochemical research  2007;32(7):1099-1112.
One strategy to identify neurochemical pathways of addiction is to map the relevant genes. In the present study we used 43 B6.C and 35 B6.I inbred RQI mouse strains, carrying <3% donor genome on C57BL/6ByJ background, for gene mapping. The strains were phenotyped for consumption of alcohol (12% v/v) in a two-bottle-choice paradigm, and genotyped for 396 microsatellite markers. The current mapping study extends our earlier experiment scanning five mouse chromosomes (1) to a whole-genome study, and discusses the differences and limitations. Data were analyzed with composite interval (CIM) and multiple interval (MIM) QTL mapping methods. CIM of B6.C strains detected significant QTLs on chrs. 6 and 12. A suggestive, but not significant, locus was detected in the B6.I strains on chr. 12. The best MIM model for B6.C strains confirmed one QTL on chr. 6 and one QTL on chr. 12., while the MIM model for the B6.I strains confirmed the suggestive locus on chr. 12. Some of the QTLs for alcohol consumption are new, while others confirm previously reported QTLs for alcohol preference, and alcohol acceptance.
PMCID: PMC2595145  PMID: 17273929
QTL mapping; Quasi-Congenic Mouse; Recombinant QTL Introgression; Ethanol Consumption; Addiction
25.  Insulin expressing hepatocytes not destroyed in transgenic NOD mice 
The liver has been suggested as a suitable target organ for gene therapy of Type 1 diabetes. However, the fundamental issue whether insulin-secreting hepatocytes in vivo will be destroyed by the autoimmune processes that kill pancreatic β cells has not been fully addressed. It is possible that the insulin secreting liver cells will be destroyed by the immune system because hepatocytes express major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules and exhibit constitutive Fas expression; moreover the liver has antigen presenting activity. Together with previous reports that proinsulin is a possible autoantigen in the development of Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune destruction of insulin producing liver cells is a distinct possibility.
To address this question, transgenic Non-Obese Diabetic (NOD) mice which express insulin in the liver were made using the Phosphoenolpyruvate Carboxykinase (PEPCK) promoter to drive the mouse insulin I gene (Ins).
The liver cells were found to possess preproinsulin mRNA, translate (pro)insulin in vivo and release it when exposed to 100 nmol/l glucagon in vitro. The amount of insulin produced was however significantly lower than that produced by the pancreas. The transgenic PEPCK-Ins NOD mice became diabetic at 20–25 weeks of age, with blood glucose levels of 24.1 ± 1.7 mmol/l. Haematoxylin and eosin staining of liver sections from these transgenic NOD PEPCK-Ins mice revealed the absence of an infiltrate of immune cells, a feature that characterised the pancreatic islets of these mice.
These data show that hepatocytes induced to produce (pro)insulin in NOD mice are not destroyed by an ongoing autoimmune response; furthermore the expression of (pro)insulin in hepatocytes is insufficient to prevent development of diabetes in NOD mice. These results support the use of liver cells as a potential therapy for type 1 diabetes. However it is possible that a certain threshold level of (pro)insulin production might have to be reached to trigger the autoimmune response.
PMCID: PMC544947  PMID: 15679918

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