ExcerptThe basement membrane is important for proper tissue development, stability, and physiology. Major components of the basement membrane include laminins and type IV collagens. The type IV procollagens Col4a1 and Col4a2 form the heterotrimer [a1(IV)]2[a2(IV)], which is ubiquitously expressed in basement membranes during early developmental stages. We present the genetic, molecular, and phenotypic characterization of nine Col4a1 and three Col4a2 missense mutations recovered in random mutagenesis experiments in the mouse. Heterozygous carriers express defects in the eye, the brain, kidney function, vascular stability, and viability. Homozygotes do not survive beyond the second trimester. Ten mutations result in amino acid substitutions at nine conserved Gly sites within the collagenous domain, one mutation is in the carboxy-terminal noncollagenous domain, and one mutation is in the signal peptide sequence and is predicted to disrupt the signal peptide cleavage site. Patients with COL4A2 mutations have still not been identified. We suggest that the spontaneous intraorbital hemorrhages observed in the mouse are a clinically relevant phenotype with a relatively high predictive value to identify carriers of COL4A1 or COL4A2 mutations.
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Publish Date: 18 December 2006