Mice with maternal duplication for proximal chromosome 6 (Chr 6) die in utero before 11.5 dpc, an effect that can be attributed to genomic imprinting. Previous studies have defined the region of Chr 6 responsible as lying proximal to the T6Ad translocation breakpoint in G-band 6B3. Evidence presented here with a new Chr 6 translocation T77H has substantially reduced the size of the imprinting region, locating it between G-band 6A3.2 and the centromere. The paternally expressed imprinted gene Mest had been mapped within the original imprinting region and was therefore a candidate for the early embryonic lethality. FISH has shown that Mest locates distal to T77H and therefore outside the redefined imprinting region. This evidence confirms that Mest is not a candidate for the early embryonic lethality found with two maternal copies of proximal Chr 6. Furthermore mice with maternal duplication for Ch 6 distal to T77H (MatDp.dist6) were found to be growth retarded at birth, the weight reduction remaining similar until adulthood. It can be concluded that the growth retardation is established in utero and is maintained at a similar level from birth to adulthood. Therefore Mest locates in a new imprinting region, distal to G-band 6A3.2 which affects growth. A targeted mutation of Mest has been reported that exhibits growth retardation, reduced postnatal survival and abnormal maternal behaviour. Here the phenotype of MatDp.dist6 mice is compared to that of Mest-deficient mutant mice. Unlike the latter, MatDp.dist6 mice have good survival rates and females have normal maternal behaviour. Possible reasons for these differences are discussed.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel.