The mottled mouse as a model for human Menkes disease: identification of mutations in the Atp7a gene

Hum Mol Genet. 1997 Mar;6(3):425-33. doi: 10.1093/hmg/6.3.425.


Mutations in the Atp7a gene, the mouse homologue of the MNK (ATP7A) gene, have been suggested to be responsible for the mottled phenotype. To date, despite considerable effort, changes associated with the mottled mutations have been detected in only two such mutants. In this study, we identify changes in the level of Atp7a transcript and mutations which could explain the mottled phenotype in nine out of the 10 mutants analysed. The fluorescence-assisted mismatch analysis method used here has proved particularly well suited for mRNA scanning of heterozygous carrier animals, because of its ability to detect mutations even in the presence of an excess of wild-type mRNA. The three new underlying mutations identified at the Atp7a locus include a splice mutation and two missense mutations. While the spectrum of mutations detected in the Atp7a murine gene provides an explanation for at least part of the wide phenotypic variation observed in mottled mutant mice, there is a singular absence of deletions which are associated with a sizeable fraction of human Menkes syndrome cases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Cation Transport Proteins*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Copper-Transporting ATPases
  • DNA Mutational Analysis*
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Embryo, Mammalian / metabolism
  • Fluorescence
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Menkes Kinky Hair Syndrome / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins*
  • Sequence Analysis
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Atp7a protein, mouse
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cation Transport Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Copper
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • ATP7A protein, human
  • Copper-Transporting ATPases