Mice homozygous for the transgenic insertion in line OVE250 exhibit severe progressive glomerulonephritis. Ultrastructural changes in the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) at 2 weeks of age resemble those in Alport syndrome. The transgenic insertion site was mapped by FISH to mouse chromosome 1 close to Pax3. Genetic and molecular analyses identified a deletion of genomic DNA at the transgene insertion site. Exons 1 through 12 of the collagen IV gene Col4a4, exons 1 and 2 of the adjacent Col4a3 gene, and the intergenic promoter region are deleted. Transcripts of Col4a3 and Col4a4 are undetectable in mutant kidney, and both proteins are missing from the GBM. Persistent cellular proliferation in mutant kidneys suggests that interaction with the extracellular matrix may be important for cell maturation. Evolutionarily conserved sequence elements in the promoter regions of human and mouse Col4a3 and Col4a4 include a 19-bp element that was tandemly duplicated in the human lineage and a CTC box element common to several genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins. This new animal model of Alpoft syndrome, Col4Δ3-4, lacks both α3 and α4 chains of collagen IV and exhibits an earlier disease onset than mice lacking α3 only.
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