Analysis of variation in mouse TPMT genotype, expression and activity

Pharmacogenetics. 2004 Apr;14(4):247-54. doi: 10.1097/00008571-200404000-00004.


Although the mouse has great potential for pharmacogenomic discovery, little is known about variation in drug response or genetic variation in pharmacologically relevant genes between inbred mouse strains. We therefore assessed variation in gene sequence, mRNA expression and protein activity of thiopurine methyltransferase (TPMT) in multiple inbred mouse strains. TPMT activity was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography detection of 6-MMP produced by incubation of liver homogenates with 6-MP. Genetic variation was assessed by resequencing and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping using pyrosequencing technology. mRNA expression was measured by real-time polymerase chain reaction. We observed an almost five-fold variation in TPMT activity, with strains falling into distinct low and high activity groups. This pattern of TPMT activity was highly correlated with expression of TPMT mRNA among strains, and high TPMT expression is dominant in F1 hybrids. To correlate genotype with phenotype, 29 SNPs and one insertion/deletion were genotyped throughout the TPMT gene and upstream 10 kb. Only two haplotypes were observed across all 30 polymorphisms, corresponding to the low and high activity groups. These results suggest that differential mouse TPMT activity is due to variation in mRNA expression. In addition, the identified pattern of low haplotype diversity suggests that the mouse is likely to be useful for pharmacogenomic discovery by associating haplotype blocks with drug response phenotypes among inbred strains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Methyltransferases / chemistry
  • Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • Methyltransferases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Methyltransferases
  • thiopurine methyltransferase