Ding F, Prints Y, Dhar MS, Johnson DK, Garnacho-Montero C, Nicholls RD, Francke U
Mammalian Genome. 16:424-431, 2005.
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurobehavioral disorder caused by the lack of paternal expression of imprinted genes in the human chromosome region 15q11-13. Recent studies of rare human translocation patients narrowed the PWS critical genes to a 121-kb region containing PWCR1/HBII-85 and HBII-438 snoRNA genes. The existing mouse models of PWS that lack the expression of multiple genes, including Snrpn, Ube3a, and many intronic snoRNA genes, are characterized by 80%-100% neonatal lethality. To define the candidate region for PWS-like phenotypes in mice, we analyzed the expression of several genetic elements in mice carrying the large radiation-induced p(30PUb) deletion that includes the p locus. Mice having inherited this deletion from either parent develop normally into adulthood. By Northern blot and RT-PCR assays of brain tissue, we found that Pwcr1/MBII-85 snoRNAs are expressed normally, while MBII-52 snoRNAs are not expressed when the deletion is paternally inherited. Mapping of the distal deletion breakpoint indicated that the p30PUb deletion includes the entire MBII-52 snoRNA gene cluster and three previously unmapped EST sequences. The lack of expression of these elements in mice with a paternal p30PUb deletion indicates that they are not critical for the neonatal lethality observed in PWS mouse models. In addition, we identified MBII-436, the mouse homolog of the HBII-436 snoRNA, confirmed its imprinting status, and mapped it outside of the p30PUb deletion. Taking together all available data, we conclude that the lack of Pwcr1/MBII-85 snoRNA expression is the most likely cause for the neonatal lethality in PWS model mice