Experimental Animals
Online ISSN : 1881-7122
Print ISSN : 1341-1357
ISSN-L : 0007-5124
The rat Downunder (Du) coat color mutation is associated with eye anomalies and embryonic lethality and maps to a 3.9-Mb region on chromosome 3
Hoang Trung HieuMiyuu TanakaMitsuru KuwamuraTomoji MashimoTadao SerikawaTakashi Kuramoto
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Supplementary material

2023 Volume 72 Issue 1 Pages 88-94


Rodent coat color genes have been studied as a bioresource to understand developmental and cellular processes. The Downunder rat is a fancy variety with a marking on its belly that runs from the neck to the breech and appears to mirror the dorsal hooded marking. Here, we established a congenic strain carrying the Downunder (Du) gene in an F344 genetic background. In addition to the ventral marking, Du/+ rats exhibit anophthalmia or microphthalmia with incomplete penetrance. Du/Du embryos die in the early stages of organogenesis. Genetic linkage analysis mapped the Du gene to rat chromosome 3 and haplotype mapping with congenic rats localized the Du locus to a 3.9-Mb region. The Du locus includes two functional genes, glycosyltransferase-like domain-containing 1 (Gtdc1) and zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 2 (Zeb2). Although we found no functional variation within any of Zeb2’s exons or intron-exon boundaries, Zeb2 mRNA levels were significantly lower in Du/+ rats compared with wild-type rats. It is known that melanocyte-specific Zeb2 deletion results in the congenital loss of hair pigmentation in mice. Taken together, our results indicate that the Du mutation exerts pleiotropic effects on hair pigmentation, eye morphology, and development. Moreover, the Zeb2 gene is a strong candidate for the Du mutation.

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© 2023 Japanese Association for Laboratory Animal Science

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