Gene duplications at the chemokine locus on mouse chromosome 4: multiple strain-specific haplotypes and the deletion of secondary lymphoid-organ chemokine and EBI-1 ligand chemokine genes in the plt mutation.
The murine paucity of lymph node T cell (plt) mutation leads to abnormalities in leukocyte migration and immune response. The causative defect is thought to be a loss of secondary lymphoid-organ chemokine (SLC) expression in lymphoid tissues. We now find that the plt defect is due to the loss of both SLC and EBI-1 ligand chemokine (ELC) expression in secondary lymphoid organs. In an examination of the plt locus, we find that commonly used inbred mouse strains demonstrate at least three different haplotypes. Polymorphism at this locus is due to duplications of at least four genes, three of them encoding chemokines. At least two cutaneous T cell-attracting chemokine (CTACK), three SLC, and four ELC genes or pseudogenes are present in some haplotypes. All haplotypes share a duplication that includes two SLC genes, which demonstrate different expression patterns, a single functional ELC gene, and an ELC pseudogene. The plt mutation represents a deletion that includes the SLC gene expressed in secondary lymphoid organs and the single functional ELC gene, leaving only an SLC gene that is expressed in lymphatic endothelium and an ELC pseudogene. This lack of CCR7 ligands in the secondary lymphoid organs of plt mice provides a basis for their severe abnormalities in leukocyte migration and immune response.
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