The role of the innate immune response regulatory gene ABCF1 in mammalian embryogenesis and development

PLoS One. 2017 May 19;12(5):e0175918. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175918. eCollection 2017.


ABCF1 is an ABC transporter family protein that has been shown to regulate innate immune response and is a risk gene for autoimmune pancreatitis and arthritis. Unlike other members of ABC transporter family, ABCF1 lacks trans-membrane domains and is thought to function in translation initiation through an interaction with eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2). To study ABCF1 expression and function in development and disease, we used a single gene trap insertion in the Abcf1 gene in murine embryonic stem cells (ES cells) that allowed lineage tracing of the endogenous Abcf1 promoter by following the expression of a β-galactosidase reporter gene. From the ES cells, heterozygous mice (Abcf1+/-) were produced. No live born Abcf1-/- progeny were ever generated, and the lethality was not mouse strain-specific. Thus, we have determined that Abcf1 is an essential gene in development. Abcf1-/- mice were found to be embryonic lethal at 3.5 days post coitum (dpc), while Abcf1+/- mice appeared developmentally normal. Abcf1+/- mice were fertile and showed no significant differences in their anatomy when compared with their wild type littermates. The Abcf1 promoter was found to be active in all organs in adult mice, but varies in levels of expression in specific cell types within tissues. Furthermore, we observed high promoter activity in the blastocysts and embryos. Overall, Abcf1 expression in embryos is required for development and its expression in adults was highly correlated with actively proliferating and differentiating cell types.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / deficiency
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / immunology*
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Mice
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics


  • ABCF1 protein, mouse
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters

Grant support

This work was supported by CIHR MOP-86739, CIHR MOP-133634, CIHR MOP-97900, and CIHR NHG-107769.