The dwg and dwg Bayer are allelic mutations of the mouse that are characterized by dwarfism, cataracts, and coat color change in homozygotes. The Ggt1 gene encodes γ-glutamyltransferase 1 (GGT1), an extracellular membrane-bound enzyme that is critical for glutathione homeostasis. Both the dwg locus and Ggt1 gene are localized on mouse chromosome 10, and the phenotypes of GGT1-deficient mice with targeted disruption of the Ggt1 gene show remarkable similarities with those of dwg/dwg and dwg Bayer /dwg Bayer mice. This evidence led us to hypothesize that the Ggt1 gene is responsible for dwg and dwg Bayer mutations. In this study we characterized dwg mutations by investigating their association with the Ggt1 gene. Histological analysis revealed reduced numbers of proliferative and hypertrophic chondrocytes in the growth plate of dwg/dwg mice, which are characteristic abnormalities observed in GGT1-deficient mice. To identify the causative mutations of dwg mutations, we analyzed the Ggt1 gene in dwg/dwg and dwg Bayer /dwg Bayer mice. In dwg/dwg mice, 13 nucleotides on exon 7 of the Ggt1 gene were deleted, resulting in the generation of aberrant transcripts due to disrupted pre-mRNA splicing. Furthermore, dwg Bayer /dwg Bayer mice had a 46.7-kb deletion containing complete coding sequences of Ggt1 and AI646023 genes and the first exon of the Ggt5 gene, which is closely related to the Ggt1 gene as a member of the GGT gene family. These results indicate that both dwg and dwg Bayer have defective mutations of the Ggt1 gene. Thus, we concluded that mutations in the Ggt1 gene are responsible for the phenotypes of dwg/dwg and dwg Bayer /dwg Bayer mice.
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