Fat aussie--a new Alström syndrome mouse showing a critical role for ALMS1 in obesity, diabetes, and spermatogenesis

Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Jul;20(7):1610-22. doi: 10.1210/me.2005-0494. Epub 2006 Mar 2.


Mutations in the human ALMS1 gene are responsible for Alström syndrome, a disorder in which key metabolic and endocrinological features include childhood-onset obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes, as well as infertility. ALMS1 localizes to the basal bodies of cilia and plays a role in intracellular trafficking, but the biological functions of ALMS1 and how these relate to the pathogenesis of obesity, diabetes, and infertility remain unclear. Here we describe a new mouse model of Alström syndrome, fat aussie, caused by a spontaneous mutation in the Alms1 gene. Fat aussie (Alms1 foz/foz) mice are of normal weight when young but, by 120 d of age, they become obese and hyperinsulinemic. Diabetes develops in Alms1 foz/foz mice accompanied by pancreatic islet hyperplasia and islet cysts. Female mice are fertile before the onset of obesity and metabolic syndrome; however, male fat aussie mice are sterile due to a progressive germ cell loss followed by an almost complete block of development at the round-to-elongating spermatid stage of spermatogenesis. In conclusion, Alms1 foz/foz mouse is a new animal model in which to study the pathogenesis of the metabolic and fertility defects of Alström syndrome, including the role of ALMS1 in appetite regulation, pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome, pancreatic islet physiology, and spermatogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Body Composition
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / genetics*
  • Eating
  • Female
  • Frameshift Mutation
  • Infertility, Male / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains / genetics*
  • Mice, Mutant Strains / metabolism
  • Mice, Mutant Strains / physiology
  • Models, Animal*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology
  • Syndrome


  • Alms1 protein, mouse
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins