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J Biol Chem. 1995 Aug 25;270(34):19778-85.

Targeted inactivation of the mouse alpha 2-macroglobulin gene.

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Department of Human Genetics, K. U. Leuven, Belgium.


The mouse alpha 2-macroglobulin gene was inactivated in embryonic stem cells by homologous recombination. Liver alpha 2-macroglobulin mRNA and plasma protein was absent in homozygotes and reduced to 50% in heterozygotes. alpha 2-Macroglobulin-deficient mice were viable and produced normally sized litters with normal sex ratio over 3 generations. Characterization of adult homozygotes included diets with different fat content, treatments with endotoxin, bleomycin, carbon tetrachloride, and ethionine to test for immune system, lung, liver, and pancreas toxicity, respectively. Knock-out mice were more resistant to endotoxin but more sensitive to a choline-free diet supplemented with ethionine. Regulation of murinoglobulin mRNA expression during pregnancy was analyzed as a possible back-up mechanism for the deficiency in alpha 2-macroglobulin. In addition, expression of mRNA was studied, coding for alpha 2-macroglobulin receptor/lipoprotein receptor-related protein, low density lipoprotein receptor, and very low density lipoprotein receptor and for some common ligands, i.e. apolipoprotein E, lipoprotein lipase, and the 44-kDa heparin binding protein. Their differential regulation in the knock-out mice relative to C57B1 mice was evident and is discussed. The impressive 15-fold increase in maternal liver murinoglobulin mRNA at partum in the knock-out mice indicated increased consumption, compared to only 4-fold in normal mice. Thus, murinoglobulin appears as the major proteinase inhibitor around partum, obviously solicited to a much greater extend in alpha 2-macroglobulin-deficient mice.

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