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      Increased apoptosis and early embryonic lethality in mice nullizygous for the Huntington's disease gene homologue.

      Nature genetics

      Stem Cells, physiology, Blastocyst, cytology, Chimera, DNA Primers, Embryo, Mammalian, Base Sequence, pathology, Fetal Death, genetics, Genes, Dominant, Genes, Lethal, Genotype, HeLa Cells, Humans, Huntington Disease, Kidney, metabolism, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Nuclear Proteins, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Protein Biosynthesis, Reference Values, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Restriction Mapping, Animals, Apoptosis

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          Abstract

          The expansion of CAG triplet repeats in the translated region of the human HD gene, encoding a protein (huntingtin) of unknown function, is a dominant mutation leading to manifestation of Huntington's disease. Targeted disruption of the homologous mouse gene (Hdh), to examine the normal role of huntingtin, shows that this protein is functionally indispensable, since nullizygous embryos become developmentally retarded and disorganized, and die between days 8.5 and 10.5 of gestation. Based on the observation that the level of the regionalized apoptotic cell death in the embryonic ectoderm, a layer expressing the Hdh gene, is much higher than normal in the null mutants, we propose that huntingtin is involved in processes counterbalancing the operation of an apoptotic pathway.

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          Most cited references 41

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          Identification of programmed cell death in situ via specific labeling of nuclear DNA fragmentation

          Programmed cell death (PCD) plays a key role in developmental biology and in maintenance of the steady state in continuously renewing tissues. Currently, its existence is inferred mainly from gel electrophoresis of a pooled DNA extract as PCD was shown to be associated with DNA fragmentation. Based on this observation, we describe here the development of a method for the in situ visualization of PCD at the single-cell level, while preserving tissue architecture. Conventional histological sections, pretreated with protease, were nick end labeled with biotinylated poly dU, introduced by terminal deoxy- transferase, and then stained using avidin-conjugated peroxidase. The reaction is specific, only nuclei located at positions where PCD is expected are stained. The initial screening includes: small and large intestine, epidermis, lymphoid tissues, ovary, and other organs. A detailed analysis revealed that the process is initiated at the nuclear periphery, it is relatively short (1-3 h from initiation to cell elimination) and that PCD appears in tissues in clusters. The extent of tissue-PCD revealed by this method is considerably greater than apoptosis detected by nuclear morphology, and thus opens the way for a variety of studies.
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            Mice carrying null mutations of the genes encoding insulin-like growth factor I (Igf-1) and type 1 IGF receptor (Igf1r).

            Newborn mice homozygous for a targeted disruption of insulin-like growth factor gene (Igf-1) exhibit a growth deficiency similar in severity to that previously observed in viable Igf-2 null mutants (60% of normal birthweight). Depending on genetic background, some of the Igf-1(-/-) dwarfs die shortly after birth, while others survive and reach adulthood. In contrast, null mutants for the Igf1r gene die invariably at birth of respiratory failure and exhibit a more severe growth deficiency (45% normal size). In addition to generalized organ hypoplasia in Igf1r(-/-) embryos, including the muscles, and developmental delays in ossification, deviations from normalcy were observed in the central nervous system and epidermis. Igf-1(-/-)/Igf1r(-/-) double mutants did not differ in phenotype from Igf1r(-/-) single mutants, while in Igf-2(-)/Igf1r(-/-) and Igf-1(-/-)/Igf-2(-) double mutants, which are phenotypically identical, the dwarfism was further exacerbated (30% normal size). The roles of the IGFs in mouse embryonic development, as revealed from the phenotypic differences between these mutants, are discussed.
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              Disruption of the proto-oncogene int-2 in mouse embryo-derived stem cells: a general strategy for targeting mutations to non-selectable genes.

              Gene targeting--homologous recombination of DNA sequences residing in the chromosome with newly introduced DNA sequences--in mouse embryo-derived stem cells promises to provide a means to generate mice of any desired genotype. We describe a positive nd negative selection procedure that enriches 2,000-fold for those cells that contain a targeted mutation. The procedure was applied to the isolation of hprt- and int-2- mutants, but it should be applicable to any gene.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1038/ng1095-155
                7550343

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