Mammalian Genetics Unit

Harwell, United Kingdom

Mammalian Genetics Unit

Harwell, United Kingdom
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Maywood E.S.,Medical Research Council MRC | Chesham J.E.,Medical Research Council MRC | Meng Q.-J.,University of Manchester | Nolan P.M.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2011

Circadian pacemaking in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) revolves around a transcriptional/posttranslational feedback loop in which period (Per) and cryptochrome (Cry) genes are negatively regulated by their protein products. Genetically specified differences in this oscillator underlie sleep and metabolic disorders, and dictate diurnal/nocturnal preference. A critical goal, therefore, is to identify mechanisms that generate circadian phenotypic diversity, through both single gene effects and gene interactions. The individual stabilities of PER or CRY proteins determine pacemaker period, and PER/CRY complexes have been proposed to afford mutual stabilization, although how PER and CRY proteins with contrasting stabilities interact is unknown. We therefore examined interactions between two mutations in male mice: Fbxl3 Afh, which lengthens period by stabilizing CRY, and Csnk1εtm1Asil (CK1εTau), which destabilizes PER, thereby accelerating the clock. By intercrossing these mutants, we show that the stabilities of CRY and PER are independently regulated, contrary to the expectation of mutual stabilization. Segregation of wild-type and mutant alleles generated a spectrum of periods for rest-activity behavior and SCN bioluminescence rhythms. The mutations exerted independent, additive effects on circadian period, biased toward shorter periods determined by CK1εTau. Notably, Fbxl3Afh extended the duration of the nadir of the PER2-driven bioluminescence rhythm but CK1εTau reversed this, indicating that despite maintained CRY expression, CK1εTau truncated the interval of negative feedback. These results argue for independent, additive biochemical actions of PER and CRY in circadian control, and complement genome-wide epistatic analyses, seeking to decipher the multigenic control of circadian pacemaking. Copyright © 2011 the authors.

Goggolidou P.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
Organogenesis | Year: 2014

Cystic kidney diseases can cause end stage renal disease, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. They may arise early or later in life, are characterized by a spectrum of symptoms and can be caused by diverse genetic defects. The primary cilium, a microtubule-based organelle that can serve as a signaling antenna, has been demonstrated to have a significant role in ensuring correct kidney development and function. In the kidney, one of the signaling pathways that requires the cilium for normal development is Wnt signaling. In this review, the roles of primary cilia in relation to canonical and non-canonical Wnt/PCP signaling in cystic renal disease are described. The evidence of the associations between cilia, Wnt signaling and cystic renal disease is discussed and the significance of planar cell polarity-related mechanisms in cystic kidney disease is presented. Although defective Wnt signaling is not the only cause of renal disease, research is increasingly highlighting its importance, encouraging the development of Wnt-associated diagnostic and prognostic tools for cystic renal disease. © 2014 Landes Bioscience.

Robson J.E.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Eaton S.A.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Underhill P.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Williams D.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Peters J.O.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
RNA | Year: 2012

Genomic imprinting is the phenomenon whereby a subset of genes is differentially expressed according to parental origin. Imprinted genes tend to occur in clusters, and microRNAs are associated with the majority of well-defined clusters of imprinted genes. We show here that two microRNAs, miR-296 and miR-298, are part of the imprinted Gnas/GNAS clusters in both mice and humans. Both microRNAs show imprinted expression and are expressed from the paternally derived allele, but not the maternal allele. They arise from a long, noncoding antisense transcript, Nespas, with a promoter more than 27 kb away. Nespas had been shown previously to act in cis to regulate imprinted gene expression within the Gnas cluster. Using microarrays and luciferase assays, IKBKE, involved in many signaling pathways, and Tmed9, a protein transporter, were verified as new targets of miR-296. Thus, Nespas has two clear functions: as a cis-acting regulator within an imprinted gene cluster and as a precursor of microRNAs that modulate gene expression in trans. Furthermore, imprinted microRNAs, including miR-296 and miR-298, impose a parental specific modulation of gene expression of their target genes. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Copyright © 2012 RNA Society.

Asante D.,University of Bristol | Asante D.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Stevenson N.L.,University of Bristol | Stephens D.J.,University of Bristol
Journal of Cell Science | Year: 2014

Cytoplasmic dynein-2 is the motor for retrograde intraflagellar transport (IFT), and mutations in dynein-2 are known to cause skeletal ciliopathies. Here, we define for the first time the composition of the human cytoplasmic dynein-2 complex. We show that the proteins encoded by the ciliopathy genes WDR34 and WDR60 are bona fide dynein-2 intermediate chains and are both required for dynein-2 function. In addition, we identify TCTEX1D2 as a unique dynein-2 light chain that is itself required for cilia function. We define several subunits common to both dynein-1 and dynein-2, including TCTEX-1 (also known as DYNLT1) and TCTEX-3 (also known as DYNLT3), roadblock-1 (also known as DYNLRB1) and roadblock-2 (also known as DYNLRB2), and LC8-1 and LC8-2 light chains (DYNLL1 and DYNLL2, respectively). We also find that NudCD3 associates with dynein-2 as it does with dynein-1. By contrast, the common dynein-1 regulators dynactin, LIS1 (also known as PAFAH1B1) and BICD2 are not found in association with dynein-2. These data explain why mutations in either WDR34 or WDR60 cause disease, as well as identifying TCTEX1D2 as a candidate ciliopathy gene. © 2014. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Warr N.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Greenfield A.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology | Year: 2012

The mammalian gonad is adapted for the production of germ cells and is an endocrine gland that controls sexual maturation and fertility. Gonadal sex reversal, namely, the development of ovaries in an XY individual or testes in an XX, has fascinated biologists for decades. The phenomenon suggests the existence of genetic suppressors of the male and female developmental pathways and molecular genetic studies, particularly in the mouse, have revealed controlled antagonism at the core of mammalian sex determination. Both testis and ovary determination represent design solutions to a number of problems: how to generate cells with the right properties to populate the organ primordium; how to produce distinct organs from an initially bipotential primordium; how to pattern an organ when the expression of key cell fate determinants is initiated only in a discrete region of the primordium and extends to other regions asynchronously; how to coordinate the interaction between distinct cell types in time and space and stabilize the resulting morphology; and how to maintain the differentiated state of the organ throughout the adult period. Some of these, and related problems, are common to organogenesis in general; some are distinctive to gonad development. In this review, we discuss recent studies of the molecular and cellular events underlying testis and ovary development, with an emphasis on the phenomenon of gonadal sex reversal and its causes in mice and humans. Finally, we discuss sex-determining loci and disorders of sex development in humans and the future of research in this important area. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Potter P.K.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
Current Aging Science | Year: 2015

Ageing is generally viewed as a detrimental phenotype; with age comes increasing susceptibility to disease and frailty. Recent data also suggests that disease can result in an increase in ageing phenotypes suggesting a positive feedback loop. It is clear that lifespan can be modified genetically and by interventions in certain organisms but the mechanisms by which this is achieved have not yet been fully elucidated, as indeed is the case for the ageing process itself. Because of the intimate relationship between disease, ageing and ultimately lifespan it is difficult to dissect the effects of individual changes. As we learn more about individual pathways and allelic variants influencing ageing and disease we can begin to unravel the influence of natural selection on these processes. © 2015 Bentham Science Publishers.

Norris D.P.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Grimes D.T.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
DMM Disease Models and Mechanisms | Year: 2012

The ciliopathies are an apparently disparate group of human diseases that all result from defects in the formation and/or function of cilia. They include disorders such as Meckel-Grüber syndrome (MKS), Joubert syndrome (JBTS), Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) and Alström syndrome (ALS). Reflecting the manifold requirements for cilia in signalling, sensation and motility, different ciliopathies exhibit common elements. The mouse has been used widely as a model organism for the study of ciliopathies. Although many mutant alleles have proved lethal, continued investigations have led to the development of better models. Here, we review current mouse models of a core set of ciliopathies, their utility and future prospects. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Hardisty-Hughes R.E.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Parker A.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Brown S.D.M.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
Nature Protocols | Year: 2010

We describe a protocol for the production of mice carrying N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutations and their screening for auditory and vestibular phenotypes. In comparison with the procedures describing individual phenotyping tests, this protocol integrates a set of tests for the comprehensive determination of the causes of hearing loss. It comprises a primary screen of relatively simple auditory and vestibular tests. A variety of secondary phenotyping protocols are also described for further investigating the deaf and vestibular mutants identified in the primary screen. The screen can be applied to potentially thousands of mutant mice, produced either by ENU or other mutagenesis approaches. Primary screening protocols take no longer than a few minutes, apart from ABR testing which takes upto 3.5 h per mouse. These protocols have been applied for the identification of mouse models of human deafness and are a key component for investigating the genes and genetic pathways involved in hereditary deafness. © 2009 Nature Publishing Group.

Norris D.P.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
BMC Biology | Year: 2012

The clockwise rotation of cilia in the developing mammalian embryo drives a leftward flow of liquid; this genetically regulated biophysical force specifies left-right asymmetry of the mammalian body. How leftward flow is interpreted and information propagated to other tissues is the subject of debate. Four recent papers have shed fresh light on the possible mechanisms. © 2012 Norris; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

McMurray F.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Moir L.,Mammalian Genetics Unit | Cox R.D.,Mammalian Genetics Unit
Current Diabetes Reports | Year: 2012

The genomes of many species have now been completely sequenced including human and mouse. Great progress has been made in understanding the complex genetics that underlie diabetes and obesity in human populations. One of the current challenges is the functional identification and characterization of the genes within loci that are being mapped. There are many approaches to this problem and this review outlines the valuable role that the mouse can play. We outline the mouse resources that are available to the research community, including knockouts with conditional potential for every gene, and the efforts of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium to attach phenotype information to these genes. We also briefly consider the potential of TALEN technology to tailor-make new mouse models of specific mutations discovered in humans. Finally, we consider the recent progress in characterizing the GWAS genes FTO, TCF7L2, CDKAL1, and SLC30A8 in engineered mouse models. © Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012.

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