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Mol Reprod Dev. 1999 Apr;52(4):341-9.

Strain dependency of TGFbeta1 function during embryogenesis.

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Division of Neonatology and Pulmonary Biology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Ohio 45229, USA.


There is incomplete penetrance to Tgfb1 knockout phenotypes. About 50% of Tgfb1 homozygous mutant (Tgfb1-/-) and 25% of Tgfb1 heterozygous (Tgfb1+/-) embryos die during embryogenesis. In a mixed NIH/Ola x C57BL/6J/Ola x 129 background partial embryonic lethality of the Tgfb1-/-embryos occurs due to defective yolk sac vasculopoiesis and/or hematopoiesis. We show here that on a predominantly CF-1 genetic background, lack of TGFbeta1 causes a pre-morula lethality in about 50% of the null embryos. This partial lethality is not reversed by transfer of Tgfb1-/- embryos to Tgfb1-/+ hosts. The extent of embryonic lethality in Tgfb1-/- embryos ranges in a background dependent manner from 20% to 100%. Based on these and other studies it is clear that TGFbeta1 acts at two distinct phases of embryogenesis: pre-implantation development and yolk sac vasculogenesis/hematopoiesis. The susceptibility for the pre-implantation lethality depends on a small number of genetic modifiers since a small number of backcrosses onto the high susceptibility strain C57BL/6 leads to complete penetrance of the lethality.

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