Modeling partial monosomy for human chromosome 21q11.2-q21.1 reveals haploinsufficient genes influencing behavior and fat deposition.
Haploinsufficiency of part of human chromosome 21 results in a rare condition known as Monosomy 21. This disease displays a variety of clinical phenotypes, including intellectual disability, craniofacial dysmorphology, skeletal and cardiac abnormalities, and respiratory complications. To search for dosage-sensitive genes involved in this disorder, we used chromosome engineering to generate a mouse model carrying a deletion of the Lipi-Usp25 interval, syntenic with 21q11.2-q21.1 in humans. Haploinsufficiency for the 6 genes in this interval resulted in no gross morphological defects and behavioral analysis performed using an open field test, a test of anxiety, and tests for social interaction were normal in monosomic mice. Monosomic mice did, however, display impaired memory retention compared to control animals. Moreover, when fed a high-fat diet (HFD) monosomic mice exhibited a significant increase in fat mass/fat percentage estimate compared with controls, severe fatty changes in their livers, and thickened subcutaneous fat. Thus, genes within the Lipi-Usp25 interval may participate in memory retention and in the regulation of fat deposition.