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Wang LQ , Chen XL , Tang BQ , Hua X , Klein-Szanto A , Kruger WD
Expression of mutant human cystathionine beta-synthase rescues neonatal lethality but not homocystinuria in a mouse model
Human Molecular Genetics. 2005 Aug 1;14(15) :2201-2208
AbstractCystathionine beta-synthase (CBS) deficiency is a recessive genetic disorder in humans characterized by elevated levels of total plasma homocysteine (tHcy) and frequent thrombosis in humans. The I278T mutation is the most common mutation found in human CBS-deficient patients. The T424N mutation was identified as a mutation in human CBS that could restore function to I278T in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In this report, we have engineered mice that express human I278T and I278T/T424N proteins from a metallotheinein-driven transgene. These transgene-containing mice were then bred to CBS knockout animals (Cbs(-)) to generate mice that express only human I278T or I278T/T424N protein. Both the I278T and the I278T/T424N transgenes are able to entirely rescue the previously described neonatal mortality phenotype despite the animals having a mean tHcy of 250 mu m. The transgenic Cbs(-/-) animals exhibit facial alopecia, have moderate liver steatosis and are slightly smaller than hetero zygous littermates. In contrast to human CBS deficiency, these mice do not exhibit extreme methioninemia. The mutant proteins are stable in the liver, kidney and colon, and liver extracts have only 2-3% of the CBS enzyme activity found in wild-type mice. Surprisingly, the I278T/T424N enzyme had exactly the same activity as the I278T enzyme indicating that T424N is unable to suppress I278T in mice. Our results show that elevated tHcy per se is not responsible for the neonatal lethality observed in Cbs(-/-) animals and suggests that CBS protein may have a function in addition to its role in homocysteine catabolism. These transgenic animals should be useful in the study of homocysteine related human disease.