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Hum Mol Genet. 2000 Mar 22;9(5):769-78.

Germline and somatic loss of function of the mouse cpk gene causes biliary ductal pathology that is genetically modulated.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


The mouse cpk mutation is the most extensively characterized murine model of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and closely resembles human autosomal recessive PKD (ARPKD), with the exception that B6-cpk/cpk homozygotes do not express the biliary ductal plate malformation (DPM) lesion. However, homozygous mutants from outcrosses to other strains, e.g. DBA/2J (D2), CD-1, BALB/c and Mus mus castaneus (CAST), express the DPM. The current study was designed: (i) to characterize the cpk-associated biliary disease in affected F(2) homozygotes from intercrosses with either CAST or D2; and (ii) to evaluate focal biliary cysts identified in heterozygotes from a D2-cpk congenic strain. We found that all F(2) cpk/cpk pups expressed both the typical renal cystic disease and the DPM. The DPM severity, assessed using semi-quantitative histopathological analysis, was markedly variable in these F(2) progeny. We found no correlation between the severity of the DPM and the renal cystic disease in either F(2) cohort. In addition, we identified focal cysts, apparently of biliary origin, in the livers of both aged D2-+/cpk and F(1) heterozygotes. Genetic analysis demonstrated loss of heterozygosity at the cpk interval and supports a loss-of-function model for biliary cysts. We conclude that the cpk allele contains an inactivating mutation which disrupts tubulo-epithelial differentiation in the kidney and biliary tract. Expression of the biliary lesion is modulated by genetic background, and the specific biliary phenotype is determined by whether loss of function of the cpk gene occurs as a germline or a somatic event.

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