Genetic modifications of mouse proopiomelanocortin peptide processing.
Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) is a prohormone which undergoes extensive tissue and cell specific post-translational processing producing a number of active peptides with diverse biological roles ranging from control of adrenal function to pigmentation to the regulation of feeding. One approach to unraveling the complexities of the POMC system is to engineer mouse mutants which lack specific POMC peptides. We describe here the design, generation, validation, and preliminary analysis of one such partial POMC mutant specifically lacking α-MSH. In contrast to POMC null mutant mice, mice lacking α-MSH in the presence of all other POMC peptides maintain adrenal structures and produce corticosterone comparable to wildtype littermates; however, they still have decreased levels of aldosterone, as found in POMC null mutant mice. Our findings demonstrate that α-MSH is not needed for maintenance of adrenal structure or for corticosterone production, but is needed for aldosterone production. These data demonstrate that mouse strains generated with precise genetic modifications of POMC peptide processing can answer questions about POMC peptide function. Further analysis of this and additional strains of mice with modified POMC peptide processing patterns will open up a novel avenue for studying the roles of individual POMC peptides.
Costa, JL; Forbes, S; Brennan, MB; Hochgeschwender, U
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