A mutation in mouse Krüppel-like factor 15 alters the gut microbiome and response to obesogenic diet

PLoS One. 2019 Sep 25;14(9):e0222536. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222536. eCollection 2019.


We identified a mouse strain, HLB444, carrying an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-induced mutation in a highly conserved C2H2 zinc-finger DNA binding motif of the transcriptional regulator KLF15 that exhibits resistance to diet-induced obesity. Characterization of the HLB444 mutant model on high-fat and chow diets revealed a number of phenotypic differences compared to wild-type controls. When fed a high fat diet, HLB444 had lower body fat, resistance to hepatosteatosis, lower circulating glucose and improved insulin sensitivity compared to C57BL/6J controls. Gut microbial profiles in HLB444 generated from 16S rRNA sequencing of fecal samples differed from controls under both chow and high fat diets. HLB444 shares similar phenotypic traits with engineered full- and adipose-specific Klf15 knockout strains; however, some phenotypic differences between this mutant and the other models suggest that the Klf15 mutation in HLB444 is a hypomorphic variant. The HLB444 model will inform further annotation of transcriptional functions of KLF15, especially with respect to the role of the first zinc-finger domain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome* / genetics
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Obesity / genetics


  • Klf15 protein, mouse
  • Kruppel-Like Transcription Factors