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PLoS One. 2014 Aug 4;9(8):e104098. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104098. eCollection 2014.

Low levels of the reverse transactivator fail to induce target transgene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Center for Biosciences, Karolinska Institutet, Novum, Huddinge, Sweden.


Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a genetic disease with multiple features that are suggestive of premature aging. Most patients with HGPS carry a mutation on one of their copies of the LMNA gene. The LMNA gene encodes the lamin A and lamin C proteins, which are the major proteins of the nuclear lamina. The organs of the cardiovascular system are amongst those that are most severely affected in HGPS, undergoing a progressive depletion of vascular smooth muscle cells, and most children with HGPS die in their early teens from cardio-vascular disease and other complications from atherosclerosis. In this study, we developed a transgenic mouse model based on the tet-ON system to increase the understanding of the molecular mechanisms leading to the most lethal aspect of HGPS. To induce the expression of the most common HGPS mutation, LMNA c.1824C>T; p.G608G, in the vascular smooth muscle cells of the aortic arch and thoracic aorta, we used the previously described reverse tetracycline-controlled transactivator, sm22α-rtTA. However, the expression of the reverse sm22α-transactivator was barely detectable in the arteries, and this low level of expression was not sufficient to induce the expression of the target human lamin A minigene. The results from this study are important because they suggest caution during the use of previously functional transgenic animal models and emphasize the importance of assessing transgene expression over time.

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