Viable mouse models of acid beta-glucosidase deficiency: the defect in Gaucher disease.
Gaucher disease is an autosomal recessively inherited disease caused by mutations at the acid beta-glucosidase (GCase) locus (GBA). To develop viable models of Gaucher disease, point mutations (pmuts), encoding N370S, V394L, D409H, or D409V were introduced into the mouse GCase (gba) locus. DNA sequencing verified each unique pmut. Mutant GCase mRNAs were near wild-type (WT) levels. GCase activities were reduced to 2 to 25% of WT in liver, lung, spleen, and cultured fibroblasts from pmut/pmut or pmut/null mice. The corresponding brain GCase activities were approximately 25% of WT. N370S homozygosity was lethal in the neonatal period. For the other pmut mice, a few storage cells appeared in the spleen at > or =7 months (D409H or D409V homozygotes) or > or =1 year (V394L homozygotes). V394L/null, D409H/null, or D409V/null mice showed scattered storage cells in spleen at approximately 3 to 4 months. Occasional storage cells (sinusoidal cells) were present in liver. In D409V/null mice, large numbers of Mac-3-positive storage cells (ie, macrophages) accumulated in the lung. Glycosphingolipid analyses showed varying rates of progressive glucosylceramide accumulation in visceral organs of pmut/pmut or pmut/null mice, but not in brain. These GCase-deficient mice provide tools for gaining insight into the pathophysiology of Gaucher disease and developing improved therapies.