Journal Article

Prominent Neuronal-Specific <i>Tub</i> Gene Expression in Cellular Targets of <i>Tubby</i> Mice Mutation

I. Sahly, K. Gogat, A. Kobetz, D. Marchant, M. Menasche, M.-N. Castel, F. Revah, J.-L. Dufier, M. Guerre-Millo and M. M. Abitbol

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 7, issue 9, pages 1437-1447
Published in print September 1998 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online September 1998 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI:
Prominent Neuronal-Specific Tub Gene Expression in Cellular Targets of Tubby Mice Mutation

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The tubby strain of mice exhibits maturity-onset obesity and sensory deficits in vision and hearing. The mutated gene, tub, responsible for this phenotype was identified recently, but the function of the TUB protein has not been deduced from its amino acid sequence. This prompted us to undertake expression mapping studies with the hope that they might help to elucidate the biological role of the TUB protein. We report the tub gene expression pattern in embryonic, fetal and adult mice tissues as determined by northern blots and in situ hybridization, using antisense oligonucleotidic probes. In mouse embryos, tub is expressed selectively in differentiating neurons of the ensemble of central and peripheral nervous systems, starting at 9.5 days after conception. In adult mice, tub is transcribed in several major brain areas, including cerebral cortex, hippocampus, several nuclei of the hypothalamus controlling feeding behavior, in the spiral ganglion of the inner ear and in the photoreceptor cells of the retina. These structures contain potential cellular targets of the tubby mutation-induced pathogenesis. The neuronal-specific tub gene distribution allows the establishment of a genotype-phenotype correlation in the tubby mice. This correlation is reminiscent of that observed in fat/fat mice, whose phenotype, also characterized by obesity, is caused by a null mutation in the carboxypeptidase E (CPE) gene. Our observations highlight similarities between CPE, prohormone convertases, several neuropeptides and tub gene expression patterns during embryogenesis, and may narrow down the avenues to explore in order to determine ultimately the function of the TUB protein.

Journal Article.  6904 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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