New Functions for Old Genes in the Mouse Placenta
Sammanfattning: Different species are separated by pre-zygotic reproductive barriers which impede gene flow between them. Rarely, when pre-zygotic barriers break down, interspecific hybrids are produced that display abnormal phenotypes, collectively called hybrid dysgenesis effects. Interspecies hybrid placental dysplasia (IHPD) in the genus Mus is a very consistent X-linked hybrid dysgenesis effect. Reproductive cloning and mutation of the gene Esx1 lead to placental hyperplasias with phenotypic similarities to IHPD. Comparative gene expression analysis of these three different models of placental hyperplasia showed that different mechanisms underlie these placental hyperplasias. We also identified several genes for which roles in placentation had not been studied earlier. We screened five of these genes, Car2, Ncam1, Fbln1, Cacnb3 and Cpe for their functions in placentation. Analysis of the spatio-temporal expression patterns of these genes during mouse placental development showed that they are ectopically expressed in IHPD placentas. Placental phenotype and gene expression was then studied in mice mutant for these genes. Our results show that complicated by the expression of functional counterparts, deletion of these genes failed to produce any consistent phenotype. Incompletely penetrant phenotypes were found in Cacnb3 and Cpe mutants. The Cpe mutant placentas recapitulated some IHPD phenotypes, despite co-expression of Cpd, a functionally redundant gene. Deregulated expression of Cpe and Cpd prior to manifestation of IHPD phenotype indicated that these are causally involved in IHPD and might be speciation genes in the genus Mus. We found that AT24 placentas also exhibit deregulated expression of these genes and could be used as a model to study IHPD. We tried rescuing the AT24 placental phenotype, by decreasing the expression of the over expressed genes. Normalization of transcript levels of these genes did not rescue the AT24 phenotype, thus indicating that up-regulation of these genes is a down-stream event in the generation of IHPD.
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