Familial hypobetalipoproteinemia (FHbeta), a syndrome characterized by low plasma cholesterol levels, is caused by mutations in the apo-B gene that interfere with the synthesis of apo-B100. FHbeta mutations frequently lead to the synthesis of a truncated form of apo-B, which typically is present in plasma at > 5% of the levels of apo-B100. Although many FHbeta mutations have been characterized, the basic mechanisms causing the low plasma levels of truncated apo-B variants have not been defined. We used gene targeting to create a mutant allele that exclusively yields a truncated apo-B, apo-B83. In mice heterozygous for the Apob83 allele, plasma levels and the size and density distribution of apo-B83-containing lipoproteins were strikingly similar to those observed in humans with FHbeta and an apo-B83 mutation. Analysis of mice carrying the Apob83 mutation revealed two mechanisms for the low plasma levels of apo-B83. First, Apob83 mRNA levels and apo-B83 secretion were reduced 76 and 72%, respectively. Second, apo-B83 was removed rapidly from the plasma, compared with apo-B100. This mouse model provides a new level of understanding of FHbeta and adds new insights into apo-B metabolism.
E Kim, CM Cham, MM Véniant, P Ambroziak, SG Young
Osteopontin (OPN) is an arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD)- containing glycoprotein encoded by the gene secreted phosphoprotein 1 (spp1). spp1 is expressed during embryogenesis, wound healing, and tumorigenesis; however, its in vivo functions are not well understood. Therefore, OPN null mutant mice were generated by targeted mutagenesis in embryonic stem cells. In OPN mutant mice, embryogenesis occurred normally, and mice were fertile. Since OPN shares receptors with vitronectin (VN), we tested for compensation by creating mice lacking both OPN and VN. The double mutants were also viable, suggesting that other RGD-containing ligands replace the embryonic loss of both proteins. We tested the healing of OPN mutants after skin incisions, where spp1 was upregulated as early as 6 h after wounding. Although the tensile properties of the wounds were unchanged, ultrastructural analysis showed a significantly decreased level of debridement, greater disorganization of matrix, and an alteration of collagen fibrillogenesis leading to small diameter collagen fibrils in the OPN mutant mice. These data indicate a role for OPN in tissue remodeling in vivo, and suggest physiological functions during matrix reorganization after injury.
L Liaw, D E Birk, C B Ballas, J S Whitsitt, J M Davidson, B L Hogan