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Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Mar 15;15(6):871-81. Epub 2006 Jan 31.

Generation of trans-mitochondrial mice carrying homoplasmic mtDNAs with a missense mutation in a structural gene using ES cells.

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Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Institute of Biological Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan.


Generation of various kinds of trans-mitochondrial mice, mito-mice, each carrying mtDNAs with a different pathogenic mutation, is required for precise investigation of the pathogenesis of mitochondrial diseases. This study used two respiration-deficient mouse cell lines as donors of mtDNAs with possible pathogenic mutations. One cell line expressed 45-50% respiratory activity due to mouse mtDNAs with a T6589C missense mutation in the COI gene (T6589C mtDNA) and the other expressed 40% respiratory activity due to rat (Rattus norvegicus) mtDNAs in mouse cells. By cytoplasmic transfer of these mtDNAs to mouse ES cells, we isolated respiration-deficient ES cells. We obtained chimeric mice and generated their F(6) progeny carrying mouse T6589C mtDNAs by its female germ line transmission. They were respiration-deficient and thus could be used as models of mitochondrial diseases caused by point mutations in mtDNA structural genes. However, chimeric mice and mito-mice carrying rat mtDNAs were not obtained, suggesting that significant respiration defects or some deficits induced by rat mtDNAs in mouse ES cells prevented their differentiation to generate mice carrying rat mtDNAs.

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