As a new mouse mutant resource, the RIKEN ENU-based gene-driven mutagenesis system in the mouse has been available to the research community since 2002. By using random base-substitution mutagenesis with ENU, a new reverse genetics infrastructure has been developed as a next-generation gene-targeting system. The construction of a large-scale mutant mouse library and high-throughput mutation discovery systems were the keys making it practically feasible. The RIKEN mutant mouse library consists of ~10,000 G1 mice, within which 100–150 mutant strains have been established based on users’ requests every year. Use of the system is very simple: users 1) download an application form from our web site and send to us, and 2) design the PCR primers for the target gene. Then, we screen the RIKEN mutant mouse library and report all the detected mutations to the user. From among the allelic series of discovered mutations, users decide which mutant strain(s) to analyze and request the live mutant strain for functional studies of the target gene. Users have been reporting various functional mutations in the RIKEN mutant mouse library: e.g., missense, knockout-type and even functional non-coding mutations. In the near future, next-generation re-sequencing systems should drastically enhance the utility of the ENU-based gene-driven mutagenesis not only for the mouse but also for other species.
Calpains are intracellular Ca2+-dependent cysteine proteases (Clan CA, family C02, EC 220.127.116.11) found in almost all eukaryotes and some bacteria. Calpains display limited proteolytic activity at neutral pH, proteolysing substrates to transform and modulate their structures and activities, and are therefore called “modulator proteases”. The human genome has 15 genes that encode a calpain-like protease domain, generating diverse calpain homologues that possess combinations of several functional domains such as Ca2+-binding domains and Zn-finger domains. The importance of the physiological roles of calpains is reflected in the fact that particular defects in calpain functionality cause a variety of deficiencies in many different organisms, including lethality, muscular dystrophies, lissencephaly, and tumorigenesis. In this review, the unique characteristics of this distinctive protease superfamily are introduced in terms of genetically modified animals, some of which are animal models of calpain deficiency diseases.
The cynomolgus macaque (Macaca fascicularis) has emerged as an important experimental animal model for biomedical research in various domains, necessitating the more extensive characterization of the genetic backgrounds influencing the macaque’s response to drugs and sensitivity to experimental disease. The diversity of the variable mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) D-loop region has been analyzed phylogenetically among geographically isolated populations or within subdivisions of the same regional population. However, the genetic differences among several substructures originating from a common population have not yet been investigated. By sequencing fragments of the mtDNA D-loop region from two subpopulations from the Indochinese region (Cambodian-Chinese and Vietnamese) along with two native Indonesian and Filipino populations, we identified 87 mtDNA D-loop haplotypes, of which 67 are new. The phylogenetic relationship suggests that the Indochinese haplotypes are intermingled in comparison to the distinct divergence of the Indonesian and Filipino lineages. The subpopulations were shown by estimation of evolutionary divergence and Wright’s F-statistic (Fst) to have little genetic differentiation. Altogether, the subpopulations may be used in biomedical research, even though a slight difference is observed in haplotype frequencies among them. Therefore, genetic diversity analyses will be necessary for the elucidation of genetic differences among the populations, as well as to obtain a better understanding of genetic diversity for biomedical research. This will involve the selection of macaques and the monitoring of genetic heterogeneity among and within breeding facilities.
The objective of this study was to obtain better antigen specific cytotoxic T cell responses in vivo. We examined the augmented induction of antigen-specific cytotoxic T cell responses to co-administration of oligonucleotides (CpG-ODN), dimethyl dioctadecyl ammonium bromide (DDA), and Lipofectamine™ 2000 with a DNA vaccine (pVAX1-CpG-Loop) and boosting with pVAX1-CpG-Loop in BALB/c mice. The results show that Loop protein-specific T cell proliferation, cytotoxic T cell activity, and the production of CD8+ T cells and IFN-γ were enhanced after co-immunization of mice with adjuvants and pVAX1-CpG-Loop. We demonstrated that significant T cell-mediated immune responses were induced in the mice with the help of DDA, CpG-ODN and Lipofectamine™ 2000.
We investigated the effects of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1 (CINC-1) on α2-macroglobulin (α2M) production in rats. IL-6-rich and CINC-1-rich fractions were separated from serum obtained from rats 12 h after injection with turpentine oil using gel-chromatography. Sexual dimorphism was observed in the peak levels of α2M after injection of IL-6-, CINC-1-, or a mixture of IL-6-and-CINC-1-rich fractions. No significant differences in α2M levels were observed in males after injection with IL-6- or CINC-1-rich fractions and those injected with normal serum obtained from healthy rats (control). In contrast, serum levels of α2M, 6 to 120 h after injection of a mixture of IL-6- and CINC-1-rich fractions were significantly higher than in control rats. These results suggest that IL-6 and CINC-1 contribute to α2M production in rats only when IL-6 and CINC-1 act synergistically.
Obesity is a condition of abnormal adipose tissue storage and recently it has been recognized as a major factor in metabolic syndrome. High-fat diet-induced obesity in the C57BL/6 mouse is an important animal model because of its similarities with human obesity. The aim of the present study was to estimate obesity, liver injury and steatohepatitis, and the distribution of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in mice with high-fat diet induced obesity. Three-week-old male C57BL/6J mice were fed either a high-fat diet (D-60: 60 kcal% fat, or D-45: 45 kcal% fat) or a normal diet (D-10: 10 kcal% fat) for 15 weeks. Oral glucose tolerance tests and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests showed that the D-60 mice had severely impaired glucose tolerance. In serum chemistry values and histopathological lesions, the D-60 group showed severe steatohepatitis. A distinct positive signal for iNOS was detected by immunohistochemistry in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes around the central vein in the D-45 and D-60 groups. Serum insulin levels and insulin immunohistochemistry in the pancreas showed pancreatic injury and insulin resistance in the D-60 group. We observed the presence of more iNOS in the high-fat diet-induced obese mouse, which has characteristics of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and diabetes, and expect that these background pathological data will be useful in research on obesity, diabetes mellitus, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
The cellular localization of the inhibin subunits (α, βA, and β B), steroidogenic enzymes (3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3βHSD) and cytochrome P450 aromatase (P450arom) were evaluated in the ovaries of cyclic (n=6) and pregnant (n=2) Shiba goats (Capra Hircus). The immunointensity of inhibin α and βA subunits showed an increase in the granulosa cells (GC) of developing follicles. Inhibin βB subunit and P450arom showed high expression in GC of antral follicles. 3βHSD immunoreactivity was uniform in preantral and antral follicles. In follicular phase and late pregnancy, there was a strong expression of inhibin α subunit in GC of antral follicles. Although in mid pregnancy, antral follicles GC showed moderate immunostaining of inhibin β subunits, the immunoreactivity of inhibin βA and βB subunits was high during the follicular and luteal stages, respectively. While, immunoreactivity of GC to P450arom was moderate during all studied stages, and 3βHSD immunoreactivity was plentiful in antral follicles during the luteal phase. The immunoreactivity to inhibin α subunit and P450arom was abundant during mid pregnancy in the luteal tissues. Immunoreaction to inhibin β subunits was faint-to-moderate in cyclic and pregnancy corpora lutea. Immunoexpression of 3βHSD was maximal in late pregnancy corpora lutea. The present results suggest that, in goats, the GC of antral follicles are the main source of dimeric inhibins and that corpora lutea may partially participate in the secretion of inhibin. Changes in ovarian hormonal levels might depend on the synthesizing capacity of hormones in the follicles and corpora lutea to regulate the goat’s reproductive stages.
The mouse Flk1 (also called Kdr or Vegf-r2) gene encodes a receptor for VEGF-A. Flk1 is expressed in endothelial cells of the developing embryo. Recent studies have shown that Flk1 is expressed by multi-potent mesodermal progenitors, which give rise to various hematopoietic and cardiovascular cell lineages during development, and in differentiating ES cells, which may be used for cell transplantation therapy to treat cardiovascular diseases. Given its developmental and clinical importance in cardiovascular tissues, an animal model of Flk1 activity would be very useful. Here, we report the generation of Flk1-GFP BAC transgenic mice for monitoring Flk1 gene expression during development. We show that GFP expression in these mice serves as a surrogate marker for developing endothelial cells. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the regions of expression of GFP and endogenous FLK1 largely overlap. Uniform GFP expression was observed in most endothelial cells at 8.5 dpc and thereafter. Flk1-GFP BAC transgenic mice should be useful for the study of both vascular development and pathological angiogenesis.
Original WBN/Kob male rats commonly develop chronic pancreatitis by the age of 3 months, while diabetes mellitus occurs at 9 months. In contrast, female rats of this strain do not show pancreatitis or diabetes. The WBN/Kob-fatty rat is a homozygous (fa/fa) congenic strain for the fa allele of the leptin receptor gene (Lepr). In WBN/Kob-fatty rats, both females and males provide a model of non-insulin-dependent diabetes with obesity. The leptin receptor fatty gene (Leprfa) induces obesity and hyperphagia. In the present study, we examined the effect of dietary restriction on pancreatitis and diabetes in female WBN/Kob-fatty rats. Five female fatty rats comprised a restricted feeding group with paired-feeding from 3 to 13 weeks of age, and five female lean rats comprised a control group with paired-feeding. At 13 weeks of age, two of the five female fatty rats of the control group developed diabetes mellitus, while no female fatty rats of the restricted feeding group developed diabetes mellitus. At this stage, pathological changes of the pancreas were observed in female fatty rats. All female fatty rats showed severe interlobular, intra-lobular and intra-islet fibrosis. In female fatty rats of the restricted feeding group, pathological changes of the pancreas were milder those of the free-feeding fatty group. Although dietary restriction could not completely prevent pancreatitis in female fatty rats, the development of diabetes was inhibited by its reduction of the severity of pancreatitis.
Isobutyl-paraben (IBP), a widely used preservative, exhibits estrogenic activity. We analyzed the effects of exposure to IBP during gestation and lactation via dam on social recognition behavior in ovariectomized offspring of Sprague-Dawley rats. Offspring were ovariectomized at 7 weeks of age, and were used in a social recognition test at 16 weeks of age. Each offspring was exposed to a novel ovariectomized rat four times and to a second novel rat in a fifth exposure. We counted the investigations by offspring of intruder rats. The IBP-exposed rats showed impaired social behavior compared with controls. These data imply that early exposure to IBP may have an effect on adult social behavior, which is reported to be an autism spectrum disorders in humans.
C57BL/6 mice were housed five per cage on a 12:12 h light/dark cycle. All animal care, including bed cleaning, was carried out during the nonactive phase. After 2 weeks, mean plasma corticosterone levels, collected during the nonactive (ZT6) and active (ZT18) phases, were 66.0 and 270.9 ng/ml, respectively. The values at ZT18 gradually increased in the order of the mice used for blood collection, but not at ZT6. When animal care was carried out at ZT18, the increasing pattern of plasma corticosterone levels previously observed at ZT18 was less pronounced after 2 weeks of acclimatization, and was not observed after 4 weeks. Therefore, animal care should be carried out in the active phase for at least 4 weeks before experiments involving stress responses in the active phase.
We isolated canine prolactin cDNA from a dog pituitary cDNA library. The 930-bp nucleotide sequence covered the entire open reading frame encoding the putative 229 amino acids. It was located in chromosome 35, and had five exons. The amino acid sequence was highly homologous to the feline and porcine sequences. To generate recombinant canine prolactin, plasmids for full-length canine prolactin were constructed and transfected into the mammalian HEK293 cell line. The recombinant prolactin was secreted into the medium as an N-linked glycosylated (31 kDa) or non-glycosylated (27 kDa) protein. Western blotting revealed both of these bands were canine pituitary protein extracts.