Mp is an irradiation-induced mouse mutation associated with microphthalmia, micropinna and hind limb syndactyly. We show that Mp is caused by a 660 kb balanced inversion on chromosome 18 producing reciprocal 3-prime gene fusion events involving Fbn2 and Isoc1. The Isoc1-Fbn2 fusion gene (Isoc1Mp) mRNA has a frameshift and early stop codon resulting in nonsense mediated decay. Homozygous deletions of Isoc1 do not support a significant developmental role for this gene. The Fbn2-Isoc1 fusion gene (Fbn2Mp) predicted protein consists of the N-terminal Fibrillin-2 (amino acids 1-2646, exons 1-62) lacking the C-terminal furin-cleavage site with a short out-of-frame extension encoded by the final exon of Isoc1. The Mp limb phenotype is consistent with that reported in Fbn2 null embryos. However, severe eye malformations, a defining feature of Mp, are not seen in Fbn2 null animals. Fibrillin-2Mp forms large fibrillar structures within the rough endoplasmic reticulum (rER) associated with an unfolded protein response and quantitative mass spectrometry shows a generalised defect in protein secretion in conditioned media from mutant cells. In the embryonic eye Fbn2 is expressed within the peripheral ciliary margin (CM). Mp embryos show reduced canonical Wnt-signalling in the CM - known to be essential for ciliary body development - and show subsequent aplasia of CM-derived structures. We propose that the Mp "worse-than-null" eye phenotype plausibly results from a failure in normal trafficking of proteins that are co-expressed with Fbn2 within the CM. The prediction of similar trans-acting protein effects will be an important challenge in the medical interpretation of human mutations from whole exome sequencing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research