Cloning of Fatso (Fto), a novel gene deleted by the Fused toes (Ft) mouse mutation
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- Peters, T., Ausmeier, K. & Rüther, U. (1999) 10: 983. doi:10.1007/s003359901144
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The Fused toes (Ft) mouse mutation was created by insertional mutagenesis, resulting in the deletion of several hundred kb of genomic sequences of mouse Chromosome (Chr) 8. Mice heterozygous for the Ft mutation are characterized by partial syndactyly of forelimbs and massive thymic hyperplasia indicating that programmed cell death is affected. Homozygous Ft/Ft embryos die at midgestation and show severe malformations of craniofacial structures. Furthermore, establishment of left-right asymmetry is random. Here we report on the positional cloning of a novel gene by exon trap analysis of a genomic clone encoding wild-type sequences corresponding to parts of the deletion in Ft mutants. RT-PCR experiments demonstrated that the newly identified gene, Fatso (Fto), is expressed throughout embryonic development. Wide expression was also found in tissues of adult mice. We show that expression of Fto is completely absent in mouse embryonic fibroblasts homozygous for the Ft mutation. In addition, we isolated the full-length cDNA which encodes a putative 58-kDa protein showing no similarities to known proteins or protein motifs. The expression data of Fto define it as a candidate gene involved in processes such as programmed cell death, craniofacial development, and establishment of left-right asymmetry.