Genetic analysis of attractin homologs

Genesis. 2007 Dec;45(12):744-56. doi: 10.1002/dvg.20351.


Attractin (ATRN) and Attractin-like 1 (ATRNL1) are highly similar type I transmembrane proteins. Atrn null mutant mice have a pleiotropic phenotype including dark fur, juvenile-onset spongiform neurodegeneration, hypomyelination, tremor, and reduced body weight and adiposity, implicating ATRN in numerous biological processes. Bioinformatic analysis indicated that Atrn and Atrnl1 arose from a common ancestral gene early in vertebrate evolution. To investigate the genetics of the ATRN system and explore potential redundancy between Atrn and Atrnl1, we generated and characterized Atrnl1 loss- and gain-of-function mutations in mice. Atrnl1 mutant mice were grossly normal with no alterations of pigmentation, central nervous system pathology or body weight. Atrn null mutant mice carrying a beta-actin promoter-driven Atrnl1 transgene had normal, agouti-banded hairs and significantly delayed onset of spongiform neurodegeneration, indicating that over-expression of ATRNL1 compensates for loss of ATRN. Thus, the two genes are redundant from the perspective of gain-of-function but not loss-of-function mutations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / classification*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Membrane Proteins / classification*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Pigmentation / genetics*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Atrn protein, mouse
  • Atrnl1 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins