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Genesis. 2006 Jan;44(1):12-22.

Mouse imprinting defect mutations that model Angelman syndrome.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) and Angelman syndrome (AS) are neurobehavioral disorders resulting from deficiency of imprinted gene expression from paternal or maternal chromosome 15q11-15q13, respectively. In humans, expression of the imprinted genes is under control of a bipartite cis-acting imprinting center (IC). Families with deletions causing PWS imprinting defects localize the PWS-IC to 4.3 kb overlapping with SNRPN exon 1. Families with deletions causing AS imprinting defects localize the AS-IC to 880 bp 35 kb upstream of the PWS-IC. We report two mouse mutations resulting in defects similar to that seen in AS patients with deletion of the AS-IC. An insertion/duplication mutation 13 kb upstream of Snrpn exon 1 resulted in lack of methylation at the maternal Snrpn promoter, activation of maternally repressed genes, and decreased expression of paternally repressed genes. The acquisition of a paternal epigenotype on the maternal chromosome in the mutant mice was demonstrated by the ability to rescue the lethality and growth retardation in a mouse model of a PWS imprinting defect. A second mutation, an 80-kb deletion extending upstream of the first mutation, caused a similar imprinting defect with variable penetrance. These results suggest that there is a mouse functional equivalent to the human AS-IC.

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