Project description:Random X inactivation represents a paradigm for monoallelic gene regulation during early ES cell differentiation. In mice, the choice of X chromosome to inactivate in XX cells is ensured by monoallelic regulation of Xist RNA via its antisense transcription unit Tsix/Xite. Homologous pairing events have been proposed to underlie asymmetric Tsix expression, but direct evidence has been lacking owing to their dynamic and transient nature. Here we investigate the live-cell dynamics and outcome of Tsix pairing in differentiating mouse ES cells. We find an overall increase in genome dynamics including the Xics during early differentiation. During pairing, however, Xic loci show markedly reduced movements. Upon separation, Tsix expression becomes transiently monoallelic, providing a window of opportunity for monoallelic Xist upregulation. Our findings reveal the spatiotemporal choreography of the X chromosomes during early differentiation and indicate a direct role for pairing in facilitating symmetry-breaking and monoallelic regulation of Xist during random X inactivation.
Project description:Copy number variation is an important dimension of genetic diversity and has implications in development and disease. As an important model organism, the mouse is a prime candidate for copy number variant (CNV) characterization, but this has yet to be completed for a large sample size. Here we report CNV analysis of publicly available, high-density microarray data files for 351 mouse tail samples, including 290 mice that had not been characterized for CNVs previously.We found 9634 putative autosomal CNVs across the samples affecting 6.87% of the mouse reference genome. We find significant differences in the degree of CNV uniqueness (single sample occurrence) and the nature of CNV-gene overlap between wild-caught mice and classical laboratory strains. CNV-gene overlap was associated with lipid metabolism, pheromone response and olfaction compared to immunity, carbohydrate metabolism and amino-acid metabolism for wild-caught mice and classical laboratory strains, respectively. Using two subspecies of wild-caught Mus musculus, we identified putative CNVs unique to those subspecies and show this diversity is better captured by wild-derived laboratory strains than by the classical laboratory strains. A total of 9 genic copy number variable regions (CNVRs) were selected for experimental confirmation by droplet digital PCR (ddPCR).The analysis we present is a comprehensive, genome-wide analysis of CNVs in Mus musculus, which increases the number of known variants in the species and will accelerate the identification of novel variants in future studies.
Project description:Random autosomal monoallelic gene expression refers to the transcription of a gene from one of two homologous alleles. We assessed the dynamics of monoallelic expression during development through an allele-specific RNA-sequencing screen in clonal populations of hybrid mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and neural progenitor cells (NPCs). We identified 67 and 376 inheritable autosomal random monoallelically expressed genes in ESCs and NPCs, respectively, a 5.6-fold increase upon differentiation. Although DNA methylation and nuclear positioning did not distinguish the active and inactive alleles, specific histone modifications were differentially enriched between the two alleles. Interestingly, expression levels of 8% of the monoallelically expressed genes remained similar between monoallelic and biallelic clones. These results support a model in which random monoallelic expression occurs stochastically during differentiation and, for some genes, is compensated for by the cell to maintain the required transcriptional output of these genes.
Project description:Divergence of gene expression is known to contribute to the differentiation and separation of populations and species, although the dynamics of this process in early stages of population divergence remains unclear. We analyzed gene expression differences in three organs (brain, liver, and testis) between two natural populations of Mus musculus domesticus that have been separated for at most 3000 years. We used two different microarray platforms to corroborate the results at a large scale and identified hundreds of genes with significant expression differences between the populations. We find that although the three tissues have similar number of differentially expressed genes, brain and liver have more tissue-specific genes than testis. Most genes show changes in a single tissue only, even when expressed in all tissues, supporting the notion that tissue-specific enhancers act as separable targets of evolution. In terms of functional categories, in brain and to a smaller extent in liver, we find transcription factors and their targets to be particularly variable between populations, similar to previous findings in primates. Testis, however, has a different set of differently expressed genes, both with respect to functional categories and overall correlation with the other tissues, the latter indicating that gene expression divergence of potential importance might be present in other datasets where no differences in fraction of differentially expressed genes were reported. Our results show that a significant amount of gene expression divergence quickly accumulates between allopatric populations.
Project description:The development of the brain is sex-dimorphic, and as a result so are many neurological disorders. One approach for studying sex-dimorphic brain development is to measure gene expression in biological samples using RT-qPCR. However, the accuracy and consistency of this technique relies on the reference gene(s) selected. We analyzed the expression of ten reference genes in male and female samples over three stages of brain development, using popular algorithms NormFinder, GeNorm and Bestkeeper. The top ranked reference genes at each time point were further used to quantify gene expression of three sex-dimorphic genes (Wnt10b, Xist and CYP7B1). When comparing gene expression between the sexes expression at specific time points the best reference gene combinations are: Sdha/Pgk1 at E11.5, RpL38/Sdha E12.5, and Actb/RpL37 at E15.5. When studying expression across time, the ideal reference gene(s) differs with sex. For XY samples a combination of Actb/Sdha. In contrast, when studying gene expression across developmental stage with XX samples, Sdha/Gapdh were the top reference genes. Our results identify the best combination of two reference genes when studying male and female brain development, and emphasize the importance of selecting the correct reference genes for comparisons between developmental stages.
Project description:Persistent papillomas developed in ~10% of out-bred immune-competent SKH-1 mice following MusPV1 challenge of their tail, and in a similar fraction the papillomas were transient, suggesting potential as a model. However, papillomas only occurred in BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice depleted of T cells with anti-CD3 antibody, and they completely regressed within 8 weeks after depletion was stopped. Neither CD4+ nor CD8+ T cell depletion alone in BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice was sufficient to permit visible papilloma formation. However, low levels of MusPV1 were sporadically detected by either genomic DNA-specific PCR analysis of local skin swabs or in situ hybridization of the challenge site with an E6/E7 probe. After switching to CD3+ T cell depletion, papillomas appeared upon 14/15 of mice that had been CD4+ T cell depleted throughout the challenge phase, 1/15 of CD8+ T cell depleted mice, and none in mice without any prior T cell depletion. Both control animals and those depleted with CD8-specific antibody generated MusPV1 L1 capsid-specific antibodies, but not those depleted with CD4-specific antibody prior to T cell depletion with CD3 antibody. Thus, normal BALB/c or C57BL/6 mice eliminate the challenge dose, whereas infection is suppressed but not completely cleared if their CD4 or CD8 T cells are depleted, and recrudescence of MusPV1 is much greater in the former following treatment with CD3 antibody, possibly reflecting their failure to generate capsid antibody. Systemic vaccination of C57BL/6 mice with DNA vectors expressing MusPV1 E6 or E7 fused to calreticulin elicits potent CD8 T cell responses and these immunodominant CD8 T cell epitopes were mapped. Adoptive transfer of a MusPV1 E6-specific CD8+ T cell line controlled established MusPV1 infection and papilloma in RAG1-knockout mice. These findings suggest the potential of immunotherapy for HPV-related disease and the importance of host immunogenetics in the outcome of infection.
Project description:House mice (Mus musculus) emit ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs), which are surprisingly complex and have features of bird song, but their functions are not well understood. Previous studies have reported mixed evidence on whether there are sex differences in USV emission, though vocalization rate or other features may depend upon whether potential receivers are of the same or opposite sex. We recorded the USVs of wild-derived adult house mice (F1 of wild-caught Mus musculus musculus), and we compared the vocalizations of males and females in response to a stimulus mouse of the same- or opposite-sex. To detect and quantify vocalizations, we used an algorithm that automatically detects USVs (Automatic Mouse Ultrasound Detector or A-MUD). We found high individual variation in USV emission rates (4 to 2083 elements/10 min trial) and a skewed distribution, with most mice (60%) emitting few (?50) elements. We found no differences in the rates of calling between the sexes overall, but mice of both sexes emitted vocalizations at a higher rate and higher frequencies during opposite- compared to same-sex interactions. We also observed a trend toward higher amplitudes by males when presented with a male compared to a female stimulus. Our results suggest that mice modulate the rate and frequency of vocalizations depending upon the sex of potential receivers.
Project description:Here we report the expansion of the genetic code of Mus musculus with various unnatural amino acids including N?-acetyl-lysine. Stable integration of transgenes encoding an engineered N?-acetyl-lysyl-tRNA synthetase (AcKRS)/tRNAPyl pair into the mouse genome enables site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids into a target protein in response to the amber codon. We demonstrate temporal and spatial control of protein acetylation in various organs of the transgenic mouse using a recombinant green fluorescent protein (GFPuv) as a model protein. This strategy will provide a powerful tool for systematic in vivo study of cellular proteins in the most commonly used mammalian model organism for human physiology and disease.