Paternal Deletion from Snrpn to Ube3a in the Mouse Causes Hypotonia, Growth Retardation and Partial Lethality and Provides Evidence for a Gene Contributing to Prader-Willi Syndrome
Human Molecular Genetics
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is caused by paternal deficiency of human chromosome 15q11-q13. There is conflicting evidence from human translocations regarding the direct involvement of SNRPN in the pathogenesis of PWS and it is not known if the phenotypic features result from the loss of expression of a single imprinted gene or multiple genes. In an attempt to dissect genotype/phenotype correlations for the homologous region of mouse chromosome 7C, we prepared three mutant genotypes: (i) mice
... h a deletion of Snrpn exon 2, which removes a portion of a small, upstream open reading frame (ORF); (ii) mice with double targeting for Snrpn exon 2 and Ube3a; (iii) mice deleted from Snrpn to Ube3a, removing coding exons for both loci and intervening genes. Mice deleted for Snrpn exon 2 have no obvious phenotypic abnormalities and switching of the genomic imprint for the region is conserved. Mice carrying the Snrpn-Ube3a deletion on the paternal chromosome showed severe growth retardation, hypotonia and~80% lethality before weaning. The surviving mice were fertile and were not obese up to 14 months of age. The deletion was transmitted for multiple generations and continued to cause partial lethality when inherited paternally, but not when inherited maternally. The normal imprinted expression and methylation patterns of necdin, a gene outside the deletion region, indicate that the deletion is not an imprinting mutation. The data suggest the presence of a paternally expressed structural gene between Snrpn and Ipw whose deficiency causes lethality, although other possibilities exist, including position effects on expression of imprinted genes or that simultaneous deficiency of both ORFs of Snrpn causes lethality.