Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is an autosomal dominant disorder characterised by occurrence of parathyroid tumours and neuroendocrine tumours (NETs) of the pancreatic islets and anterior pituitary. The MEN1 gene, encoding menin, is a tumour suppressor, but its precise role in initiating in vivo tumourigenesis remains to be elucidated. The availability of a temporally controlled conditional MEN1 mouse model would greatly facilitate the study of such early tumourigenic events, and overcome the limitations of other MEN1 knockout models, in which menin is lost from conception or tumour development occurs asynchronously. To generate a temporally controlled conditional mouse model, we crossbred mice with the MEN1 gene floxed by LoxP sites (Men1 L/L), and mice expressing tamoxifen-inducible Cre recombinase under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP2-CreER), to establish a pancreatic β-cell-specific NET model under temporal control (Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER). Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER mice aged ~3 months were given tamoxifen in the diet for 5 days, and pancreata harvested 2–2.5, 2.9–3.5 and 4.5–5.5 months later. Control mice did not express Cre and did not receive tamoxifen. Immunostaining of pancreata from tamoxifen-treated Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER mice, compared to control mice, showed at all ages: loss of menin in all islets; increased islet area (>4.2-fold); increased proliferation of insulin immunostaining β-cells (>2.3-fold) and decreased proliferation of glucagon immunostaining α-cells (>1.7-fold). There were no gender and apoptotic or proliferation differences, and extra-pancreatic tumours were not detected. Thus, we have established a mouse model (Men1 L/L/RIP2-CreER) to study early events in the development of pancreatic β-cell NETs.
K E Lines, R P Vas Nunes, M Frost, C J Yates, M Stevenson and R V Thakker
Katherine U Gaynor, Irina V Grigorieva, Samantha M Mirczuk, Sian E Piret, Kreepa G Kooblall, Mark Stevenson, Karine Rizzoti, Michael R Bowl, M Andrew Nesbit, Paul T Christie, William D Fraser, Tertius Hough, Michael P Whyte, Robin Lovell-Badge and Rajesh V Thakker
Hypoparathyroidism is genetically heterogeneous and characterized by low plasma calcium and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations. X-linked hypoparathyroidism (XLHPT) in two American families is associated with interstitial deletion-insertions involving deletions of chromosome Xq27.1 downstream of SOX3 and insertions of predominantly non-coding DNA from chromosome 2p25.3. These could result in loss, gain, or movement of regulatory elements, which include ultraconserved element uc482, which could alter SOX3 expression. To investigate this, we analysed SOX3 expression in EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cells from three affected males, three unaffected males, and four carrier females from one XLHPT family. SOX3 expression was similar in all individuals, indicating that the spatiotemporal effect of the interstitial deletion-insertion on SOX3 expression postulated to occur in developing parathyroids did not manifest in lymphoblastoids. Expression of SNTG2, which is duplicated and inserted into the X chromosome, and ATP11C, which is moved telomerically, were also similarly expressed in all individuals. Investigation of male hemizygous (Sox3 −/Y and uc482 −/Y) and female heterozygous (Sox3 +/ − and uc482 +/ −) knockout mice, together with wild-type littermates (male Sox3 +/Y and uc482 +/Y, and female Sox3 +/+ and uc482 +/+), revealed Sox3 −/Y, Sox3 +/ −, uc482 −/Y, and uc482 +/ − mice to have normal plasma biochemistry, compared to their respective wild-type littermates. When challenged with a low calcium diet, all mice had hypocalcaemia, and elevated plasma PTH concentrations and alkaline phosphatase activities, and Sox3 −/Y, Sox3 +/ −, uc482 −/Y, and uc482 +/ − mice had similar plasma biochemistry, compared to wild-type littermates. Thus, these results indicate that absence of Sox3 or uc482 does not cause hypoparathyroidism and that XLHPT likely reflects a more complex mechanism.