Faculty Research 1990 - 1999

Differential expression of a new dominant agouti allele (Aiapy) is correlated with methylation state and is influenced by parental lineage.

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Animal, Base-Sequence, DNA-Antisense, Gene-Expression-Regulation, Gene-Rearrangement, Genes-Dominant: ge, Genes-Intracisternal-A-Particle: ge, Genomic-Imprinting: ge, Mice, Mice-Inbred-C3H, Mice-Inbred-C57BL, Molecular-Sequence-Data, Mutation, Pigmentation: ge, Promoter-Regions-(Genetics), Proteins: ge, Repetitive-Sequences-Nucleic-Acid: ge, SUPPORT-NON-U-S-GOVT, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-NON-P-H-S, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Tissue-Distribution, Transcription-Genetic

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Genes Dev 1994 Jun 15;8(12):1463-72




The agouti gene normally confers the wild-type coat color of mice. Dominant mutations at the agouti locus result in a pleiotropic syndrome that is characterized by excessive amounts of yellow pigment in the coat, obesity, a non-insulin-dependent diabetic-like condition, and the propensity to form a variety of tumors. Here, we describe a new dominant mutation at the agouti locus in which an intracisternal A-particle (IAP) has integrated in an antisense orientation immediately 5' of the first coding exon of the gene. This mutation, which we have named Aiapy, results in the ectopic expression of the agouti gene through the utilization of a cryptic promoter within the IAP 5' long terminal repeat (LTR). The coat color of Aiapy/-mice ranges from solid yellow to a pigment pattern that is similar to wild type (pseudoagouti), and the expressivity of this mutant phenotype varies with parental inheritance. Those offspring with a yellow coat ectopically express agouti mRNA at high levels and exhibit marked obesity, whereas pseudoagouti mice express agouti mRNA at a very low level and their weights do not differ from wild-type littermates. Data are presented to show that the differential expressivity of the Aiapy allele is correlated with the methylation status of the inserted IAP 5' LTR. These data further support the hypothesis that in dominant yellow mutations at the agouti locus, it is the ubiquitous expression of the wild-type agouti coding sequence that is responsible for the yellow coat color, obesity, diabetes, and tumorigenesis.

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