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Mutat Res. 2003 Aug 28;529(1-2):35-50.

Transgene instability in mice injected with an in vitro methylated Igf2 gene.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, NYS Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, Staten Island, NY 10314, USA. bgyanyib@earthlink.net

Abstract

Foreign DNA injected into mouse embryos integrates into the host chromosomes and is usually transmitted stably to the progeny. Rare cases of transgene instability have been described, and these can help our understanding of the rules that govern the organization and stability of endogenous DNA. We have observed unusual inheritance in three transgenic lines produced with a partially in vitro methylated Igf2 construct. All three founders transmitted to their progeny two different transgene patterns, A and B. Pattern A was inherited in accordance with expectation, whereas pattern B was associated with several abnormal characteristics, including fewer than expected transgenic progeny, evidence for instability and loss from the somatic tissues of some of the progeny, and high incidence of runting and perinatal death that did not appear correlated with transgene retention. The absence of these features in transgenic mice produced with the unmethylated version of the same construct indicated that prior methylation played a role in the unusual behavior of these transgenes. We hypothesize that patterns A and B were formed by transgenes that differed in their methylation, and that pattern B methylation led to instability of the transgene locus. Runting and early lethality in the pattern B sublines may be the result of transgene rearrangements, which result in transgene amplification with adverse effects of increased IGFII dosage, and/or deletions, which may affect endogenous genes required for viability. These findings provide further evidence that DNA methylation plays a role in genome stability and indicate that perturbations in the normal pattern of methylation may have destabilizing effects that extend through several generations.

PMID:
12943918
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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