Dosage of the Abcg1-U2af1 region modifies locomotor and cognitive deficits observed in the Tc1 mouse model of Down syndrome.
ABSTRACT: Down syndrome (DS) results from one extra copy of human chromosome 21 and leads to several alterations including intellectual disabilities and locomotor defects. The transchromosomic Tc1 mouse model carrying an extra freely-segregating copy of human chromosome 21 was developed to better characterize the relation between genotype and phenotype in DS. The Tc1 mouse exhibits several locomotor and cognitive deficits related to DS. In this report we analyzed the contribution of the genetic dosage of 13 conserved mouse genes located between Abcg1 and U2af1, in the telomeric part of Hsa21. We used the Ms2Yah model carrying a deletion of the corresponding interval in the mouse genome to rescue gene dosage in the Tc1/Ms2Yah compound mice to determine how the different behavioral phenotypes are affected. We detected subtle changes with the Tc1/Ms2Yah mice performing better than the Tc1 individuals in the reversal paradigm of the Morris water maze. We also found that Tc1/Ms2Yah compound mutants performed better in the rotarod than the Tc1 mice. This data support the impact of genes from the Abcg1-U2af1 region as modifiers of Tc1-dependent memory and locomotor phenotypes. Our results emphasize the complex interactions between triplicated genes inducing DS features.
Project description:Mental retardation in Down syndrome (DS), the most frequent trisomy in humans, varies from moderate to severe. Several studies both in human and based on mouse models identified some regions of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) as linked to cognitive deficits. However, other intervals such as the telomeric region of Hsa21 may contribute to the DS phenotype but their role has not yet been investigated in detail. Here we show that the trisomy of the 12 genes, found in the 0.59 Mb (Abcg1-U2af1) Hsa21 sub-telomeric region, in mice (Ts1Yah) produced defects in novel object recognition, open-field and Y-maze tests, similar to other DS models, but induces an improvement of the hippocampal-dependent spatial memory in the Morris water maze along with enhanced and longer lasting long-term potentiation in vivo in the hippocampus. Overall, we demonstrate the contribution of the Abcg1-U2af1 genetic region to cognitive defect in working and short-term recognition memory in DS models. Increase in copy number of the Abcg1-U2af1 interval leads to an unexpected gain of cognitive function in spatial learning. Expression analysis pinpoints several genes, such as Ndufv3, Wdr4, Pknox1 and Cbs, as candidates whose overexpression in the hippocampus might facilitate learning and memory in Ts1Yah mice. Our work unravels the complexity of combinatorial genetic code modulating different aspect of mental retardation in DS patients. It establishes definitely the contribution of the Abcg1-U2af1 orthologous region to the DS etiology and suggests new modulatory pathways for learning and memory.
Project description:Down syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and presents a complex phenotype that arises from abnormal dosage of genes on this chromosome. However, the individual dosage-sensitive genes underlying each phenotype remain largely unknown. To help dissect genotype--phenotype correlations in this complex syndrome, the first fully transchromosomic mouse model, the Tc1 mouse, which carries a copy of human chromosome 21 was produced in 2005. The Tc1 strain is trisomic for the majority of genes that cause phenotypes associated with DS, and this freely available mouse strain has become used widely to study DS, the effects of gene dosage abnormalities, and the effect on the basic biology of cells when a mouse carries a freely segregating human chromosome. Tc1 mice were created by a process that included irradiation microcell-mediated chromosome transfer of Hsa21 into recipient mouse embryonic stem cells. Here, the combination of next generation sequencing, array-CGH and fluorescence in situ hybridization technologies has enabled us to identify unsuspected rearrangements of Hsa21 in this mouse model; revealing one deletion, six duplications and more than 25 de novo structural rearrangements. Our study is not only essential for informing functional studies of the Tc1 mouse but also (1) presents for the first time a detailed sequence analysis of the effects of gamma radiation on an entire human chromosome, which gives some mechanistic insight into the effects of radiation damage on DNA, and (2) overcomes specific technical difficulties of assaying a human chromosome on a mouse background where highly conserved sequences may confound the analysis. Sequence data generated in this study is deposited in the ENA database, Study Accession number: ERP000439.
Project description:Aneuploidies are common chromosomal defects that result in growth and developmental deficits and high levels of lethality in humans. To gain insight into the biology of aneuploidies, we manipulated mouse embryonic stem cells and generated a trans-species aneuploid mouse line that stably transmits a freely segregating, almost complete human chromosome 21 (Hsa21). This "transchromosomic" mouse line, Tc1, is a model of trisomy 21, which manifests as Down syndrome (DS) in humans, and has phenotypic alterations in behavior, synaptic plasticity, cerebellar neuronal number, heart development, and mandible size that relate to human DS. Transchromosomic mouse lines such as Tc1 may represent useful genetic tools for dissecting other human aneuploidies.
Project description:Down's syndrome (DS) is a genetic disorder caused by full or partial trisomy of human chromosome 21 and presents with many clinical phenotypes including a reduced incidence of solid tumours. Recent work with the Ts65Dn model of DS, which has orthologues of about 50% of the genes on chromosome 21 (Hsa21), has indicated that three copies of the ETS2 (ref. 3) or DS candidate region 1 (DSCR1) genes (a previously known suppressor of angiogenesis) is sufficient to inhibit tumour growth. Here we use the Tc1 transchromosomic mouse model of DS to dissect the contribution of extra copies of genes on Hsa21 to tumour angiogenesis. This mouse expresses roughly 81% of Hsa21 genes but not the human DSCR1 region. We transplanted B16F0 and Lewis lung carcinoma tumour cells into Tc1 mice and showed that growth of these tumours was substantially reduced compared with wild-type littermate controls. Furthermore, tumour angiogenesis was significantly repressed in Tc1 mice. In particular, in vitro and in vivo angiogenic responses to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were inhibited. Examination of the genes on the segment of Hsa21 in Tc1 mice identified putative anti-angiogenic genes (ADAMTS1and ERG) and novel endothelial cell-specific genes, never previously shown to be involved in angiogenesis (JAM-B and PTTG1IP), that, when overexpressed, are responsible for inhibiting angiogenic responses to VEGF. Three copies of these genes within the stromal compartment reduced tumour angiogenesis, explaining the reduced tumour growth in DS. Furthermore, we expect that, in addition to the candidate genes that we show to be involved in the repression of angiogenesis, the Tc1 mouse model of DS will permit the identification of other endothelium-specific anti-angiogenic targets relevant to a broad spectrum of cancer patients.
Project description:Down syndrome (DS) results from trisomy of human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Here, using the unique transchromosomic Tc1 mouse model of DS we investigate the influence of trisomy of Hsa21 on the protein tau, which is hyperphosphorylated in Alzheimer's disease. We show that in old, but not young, Tc1 mice increased phosphorylation of tau occurs at a site suggested to be targeted by the Hsa21 encoded kinase, dual-specificity tyrosine-(Y)-phosphorylation regulated kinase 1A (DYRK1A). We show that DYRK1A is upregulated in young and old Tc1 mice, but that young trisomic mice may be protected from accumulating aberrantly phosphorylated tau. We observe that the key tau kinase, glycogen synthase kinase3-β (GSK-3β) is aberrantly phosphorylated at an inhibitory site in the aged Tc1 brain which may reduce total glycogen synthase kinase3-β activity. It is possible that a similar mechanism may also occur in people with DS.
Project description:<h4>Aims</h4>Cardiac malformations are prevalent in trisomies of human chromosome 21 [Down's syndrome (DS)], affecting normal chamber separation in the developing heart. Efforts to understand the aetiology of these defects have been severely hampered by the absence of an accurate mouse model. Such models have proved challenging to establish because synteny with human chromosome Hsa21 is distributed across three mouse chromosomes. None of those engineered so far accurately models the full range of DS cardiac phenotypes, in particular the profound disruptions resulting from atrioventricular septal defects (AVSDs). Here, we present analysis of the cardiac malformations exhibited by embryos of the transchromosomic mouse line Tc(Hsa21)1TybEmcf (Tc1) which contains more than 90% of chromosome Hsa21 in addition to the normal diploid mouse genome.<h4>Methods and results</h4>Using high-resolution episcopic microscopy and three-dimensional (3D) modelling, we show that Tc1 embryos exhibit many of the cardiac defects found in DS, including balanced AVSD with single and separate valvar orifices, membranous and muscular ventricular septal defects along with outflow tract and valve leaflet abnormalities. Frequencies of cardiac malformations (ranging from 38 to 55%) are dependent on strain background. In contrast, no comparable cardiac defects were detected in embryos of the more limited mouse trisomy model, Dp(16Cbr1-ORF9)1Rhr (Ts1Rhr), indicating that trisomy of the region syntenic to the Down's syndrome critical region, including the candidate genes DSCAM and DYRK1A, is insufficient to yield DS cardiac abnormalities.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The Tc1 mouse line provides a suitable model for studying the underlying genetic causes of the DS AVSD cardiac phenotype.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Down syndrome (DS), caused by trisomy of human chromosome 21 (HSA21), is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation in humans. Among complex phenotypes, it displays a number of neural pathologies including smaller brain size, reduced numbers of neurons, reduced dendritic spine density and plasticity, and early Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration. Mouse models for DS show behavioural and cognitive defects, synaptic plasticity defects, and reduced hippocampal and cerebellar neuron numbers. Early postnatal development of both human and mouse-model DS shows the reduced capability of neuronal precursor cells to generate neurons. The exact molecular cause of this reduction, and the role played by increased dosage of individual HSA21 genes, remain unknown.<h4>Results</h4>We have subcutaneously injected mouse pluripotent ES cells containing a single freely segregating supernumerary human chromosome 21 (HSA21) into syngeneic mice, to generate transchromosomic teratomas. Transchromosomic cells and parental control cells were injected into opposite flanks of thirty mice in three independent experiments. Tumours were grown for 30 days, a time-span equivalent to combined intra-uterine, and early post-natal mouse development. When paired teratomas from the same animals were compared, transchromosomic tumours showed a three-fold lower percentage of neuroectodermal tissue, as well as significantly reduced mRNA levels for neuron specific (Tubb3) and glia specific (Gfap) genes, relative to euploid controls. Two thirds of transchromosomic tumours also showed a lack of PCR amplification with multiple primers specific for HSA21, which were present in the ES cells at the point of injection, thus restricting a commonly retained trisomy to less than a third of HSA21 genes.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We demonstrate that a supernumerary chromosome 21 causes Inhibition of Neuroectodermal DIfferentiation (INDI) of pluripotent ES cells. The data suggest that trisomy of less than a third of HSA21 genes, in two chromosomal regions, might be sufficient to cause this effect.
Project description:We describe a fully automated pipeline for the morphometric phenotyping of mouse brains from ?MRI data, and show its application to the Tc1 mouse model of Down syndrome, to identify new morphological phenotypes in the brain of this first transchromosomic animal carrying human chromosome 21. We incorporate an accessible approach for simultaneously scanning multiple ex vivo brains, requiring only a 3D-printed brain holder, and novel image processing steps for their separation and orientation. We employ clinically established multi-atlas techniques-superior to single-atlas methods-together with publicly-available atlas databases for automatic skull-stripping and tissue segmentation, providing high-quality, subject-specific tissue maps. We follow these steps with group-wise registration, structural parcellation and both Voxel- and Tensor-Based Morphometry-advantageous for their ability to highlight morphological differences without the laborious delineation of regions of interest. We show the application of freely available open-source software developed for clinical MRI analysis to mouse brain data: NiftySeg for segmentation and NiftyReg for registration, and discuss atlases and parameters suitable for the preclinical paradigm. We used this pipeline to compare 29 Tc1 brains with 26 wild-type littermate controls, imaged ex vivo at 9.4T. We show an unexpected increase in Tc1 total intracranial volume and, controlling for this, local volume and grey matter density reductions in the Tc1 brain compared to the wild-types, most prominently in the cerebellum, in agreement with human DS and previous histological findings.
Project description:The mouse U2af1-rs1 gene is an endogenous imprinted gene on the proximal region of chromosome 11. This gene is transcribed exclusively from the unmethylated paternal allele, while the methylated maternal allele is silent. An analysis of genome structure of this gene revealed that the whole gene is located in an intron of the Murr1 gene. Although none of the three human U2af1-related genes have been mapped to chromosome 2, the human homolog of Murr1 is assigned to chromosome 2. The mouse Murr1 gene is transcribed biallelically, and therefore it is not imprinted in neonatal mice. Allele-specific methylation is limited to a region around U2af1-rs1 in an intron of Murr1. These results suggest that in chromosomal homology and genomic imprinting, the U2af1-rs1 gene is distinct from the genome region surrounding it. We have proposed the neomorphic origin of the U2af1-rs1 gene by retrotransposition and the particular mechanism of genomic imprinting of ectopic genes.
Project description:Down Syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and results in a spectrum of phenotypes including learning and memory deficits, and motor dysfunction. It has been hypothesized that an additional copy of a few Hsa21 dosage-sensitive genes causes these phenotypes, but this has been challenged by observations that aneuploidy can cause phenotypes by the mass action of large numbers of genes, with undetectable contributions from individual sequences. The motor abnormalities in DS are relatively understudied-the identity of causative dosage-sensitive genes and the mechanism underpinning the phenotypes are unknown. Using a panel of mouse strains with duplications of regions of mouse chromosomes orthologous to Hsa21 we show that increased dosage of small numbers of genes causes locomotor dysfunction and, moreover, that the Dyrk1a gene is required in three copies to cause the phenotype. Furthermore, we show for the first time a new DS phenotype: loss of motor neurons both in mouse models and, importantly, in humans with DS, that may contribute to locomotor dysfunction.