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EMBO J. 1995 Mar 1;14(5):939-50.

Impaired interleukin-3 (IL-3) response of the A/J mouse is caused by a branch point deletion in the IL-3 receptor alpha subunit gene.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Palo Alto, CA 94304.


Interleukin-3 (IL-3) alone does not support hematopoietic colony formation of bone marrow cells from the A/J mouse. To elucidate the molecular lesion in A/J mice, we examined expression of the alpha and beta subunits of the IL-3 receptor (IL-3R). While IL-3R beta was normally expressed, IL-3R alpha was not detectable on the surface of A/J-derived cells by antibody staining. Genetic linkage analysis using recombinant inbred mouse strains between A/J and IL-3-responsive C57BL/6 indicated that the IL-3R alpha gene locus was responsible for the impaired IL-3 response in A/J mice. Molecular cloning and characterization of A/J-derived IL-3R alpha cDNA revealed that it lacked the sequence corresponding to exon 8, which encodes 10 amino acid residues in the extracellular domain. The aberrant splicing was due to a 5 base pair deletion at the branch point in intron 7 and was reproduced in heterologous cells by transfecting with an IL-3R alpha minigene carrying the deleterious intron. The A/J-specific abnormal form of IL-3R alpha was localized inside the cells, but not on the cell surface, providing the molecular basis for the impaired IL-3 response in the A/J mouse.

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