Title

Genetic Contributors to Intergenerational CAG Repeat Instability in Huntington's Disease Knock-In Mice.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-2017

JAX Source

Genetics 2017 Feb; 205(2):503-516

PMID

27913616

Abstract

Huntington's disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the expansion of a CAG trinucleotide repeat in exon 1 of the HTT gene. Longer repeat sizes are associated with increased disease penetrance and earlier ages of onset. Intergenerationally unstable transmissions are common in HD families, partly underlying the genetic anticipation seen in this disorder. HD CAG knock-in mouse models also exhibit a propensity for intergenerational repeat size changes. In this work, we examine intergenerational instability of the CAG repeat in over 20,000 transmissions in the largest HD knock-in mouse model breeding datasets reported to date. We confirmed previous observations that parental sex drives the relative ratio of expansions and contractions. The large datasets further allowed us to distinguish effects of paternal CAG repeat length on the magnitude and frequency of expansions and contractions, as well as the identification of large repeat size jumps in the knock-in models. Distinct degrees of intergenerational instability were observed between knock-in mice of six background strains, indicating the occurrence of trans-acting genetic modifiers. We also found that lines harboring a neomycin resistance cassette upstream of Htt showed reduced expansion frequency, indicative of a contributing role for sequences in cis, with the expanded repeat as modifiers of intergenerational instability. These results provide a basis for further understanding of the mechanisms underlying intergenerational repeat instability. Genetics 2017 Feb; 205(2):503-516.