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The C57BL/6J (B6) is the most common inbred mouse strain used in biomedical research in the United States. Yet, this strain is notoriously known for being deficient in the biosynthesis of melatonin, an important effector of circadian clocks in the brain and in the retina. Melatonin deficiency in this strain results from non-functional alleles of the genes coding two key enzymes of the melatonin synthesis pathway: arylalkylamine-N-acetyltransferase (Aanat) and N-acetylserotonin-O-methyltransferase (Asmt). By introducing functional alleles of the Aanat and Asmt genes from the melatonin-proficient CBA/CaJ (CBA) mouse strain to B6, we have generated a B6 congenic line that has acquired the capacity of rhythmic melatonin synthesis. In addition, the melatonin-dependent rhythm of dopamine release in the retina is restored in the B6 congenic line. Finally, we have partially characterized the Aanat and Asmt genes of the CBA strain and have identified multiple differences between CBA and B6 alleles, including single nucleotide polymorphism and deletion/insertion of DNA segments of various sizes. As an improved model organism with functional components of the melatonin synthesis pathway and melatonin-dependent circadian regulations, the new line will be useful to researchers studying melatonin physiological functions in a variety of fields including, but not limited to, circadian biology and neuroscience. In particular, the congenic line will be useful to speed up introduction of melatonin production capacity into genetically-modified mouse lines of interest such as knockout lines, many of which are on B6 or mixed B6 backgrounds. The melatonin-proficient B6 congenic line will be widely distributed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of pineal research
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Inbred strains of animals that are genetically identical except at a single locus, or a few specified loci, so that their known genetic differences are expressed in the same genetic background. A congenic strain is produced by outbreeding a strain and then eliminating the background by many generations of backcrosses while maintaining the desired genetic differences by selection of progeny. (Dorland, 28th ed)
A biogenic amine that is found in animals and plants. In mammals, melatonin is produced by the PINEAL GLAND. Its secretion increases in darkness and decreases during exposure to light. Melatonin is implicated in the regulation of SLEEP, mood, and REPRODUCTION. Melatonin is also an effective antioxidant.
Mouse strains constructed to possess identical genotypes except for a difference at a single gene locus.
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A family of G-protein-coupled receptors that are specific for and mediate the effects of MELATONIN. Activation of melatonin receptors has been associated with decreased intracellular CYCLIC AMP and increased hydrolysis of PHOSPHOINOSITIDES.
Bioinformatics is the application of computer software and hardware to the management of biological data to create useful information. Computers are used to gather, store, analyze and integrate biological and genetic information which can then be applied...