Studies of the regulation and function of the Gs alpha gene Gnas using gene targeting technology.


The heterotrimeric G protein alpha-subunit G(s)alpha is ubiquitously expressed and mediates receptor-stimulated intracellular cAMP generation. Its gene Gnas is a complex imprinted gene which uses alternative promoters and first exons to generate other gene products, including the G(s)alpha isoform XL alpha s and the chromogranin-like protein NESP55, which are specifically expressed from the paternal and maternal alleles, respectively. G(s)alpha itself is imprinted in a tissue-specific manner, being biallelically expressed in most tissues but paternally silenced in a few tissues. Gene targeting of specific Gnas transcripts demonstrates that heterozygous mutation of G(s)alpha on the maternal (but not the paternal) allele leads to early lethality, perinatal subcutaneous edema, severe obesity, and multihormone resistance, while the paternal mutation leads to only mild obesity and insulin resistance. These parent-of-origin differences are the consequence of tissue-specific G(s)alpha imprinting. XL alpha s deficiency leads to a perinatal suckling defect and a lean phenotype with increased insulin sensitivity. The opposite metabolic effects of G(s)alpha and XL alpha s deficiency are associated with decreased and increased sympathetic nervous system activity, respectively. NESP55 deficiency has no metabolic consequences. Other gene targeting experiments have shown Gnas to have 2 independent imprinting domains controlled by 2 different imprinting control regions. Tissue-specific G(s)alpha knockout models have identified important roles for G(s)alpha signaling pathways in skeletal development, renal function, and glucose and lipid metabolism. Our present knowledge gleaned from various Gnas gene targeting models are discussed in relation to the pathogenesis of human disorders with mutation or abnormal imprinting of the human orthologue GNAS.

DOI: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2007.03.013
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@article{Weinstein2007StudiesOT, title={Studies of the regulation and function of the Gs alpha gene Gnas using gene targeting technology.}, author={Lee S Weinstein and Tao Xie and Qing-Hong Zhang and Min Chen}, journal={Pharmacology & therapeutics}, year={2007}, volume={115 2}, pages={271-91} }