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Paper Chase

Modeling CTLA4-linked autoimmunity with RNA interference in mice.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. Oct 31, 2006;103(44):16400-5.
Chen Z, Stockton J, Mathis D, Benoist C.

Section on Immunology and Immunogenetics, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


The CTLA4 gene is important for T lymphocyte-mediated immunoregulation and has been associated with several autoimmune diseases, in particular, type 1 diabetes. To model the impact of natural genetic variants of CTLA4, we constructed RNA interference (RNAi) "knockdown" mice through lentiviral transgenesis. Variegation of expression was observed in founders but proved surmountable because it reflected parental imprinting, with derepression by transmission from male lentigenics. Unlike the indiscriminate multiorgan autoimmune phenotype of the corresponding knockout mice, Ctla4 knockdown animals had a disease primarily focused on the pancreas, with rapid progression to diabetes. As with the human disease, the knockdown phenotype was tempered by genetic-modifier loci. RNAi should be more pertinent than gene ablation in modeling disease pathogenesis linked to a gene-dosage variation.