BACKGROUND: The curly tail (ct) mutant mouse is one of the best-studied mouse models of spina bifida. The ct mutation has been localized to distal chromosome 4 in two independent studies and was recently postulated to be in the Grhl-3 gene. METHODS: A recombinant BALB/c-ct strain was generated and used to precisely map the ct gene. RESULTS: We report the absence of gross chromosomal abnormalities and the precise mapping of the ct gene to a 3-Mb region at 135 Mb (66 cM) from the centromere, closely linked to the polymorphic microsatellite marker D4Mit148. Candidate genes, Idb3, Wnt4, Cdc42, and perlecan, all localized in the critical region, were studied by sequence and expression analyses. Our data indicate that these genes in all probability do not account for the ct phenotype. In addition, our expression data do not provide strong evidence that Grhl-3 is indeed the ct gene. CONCLUSIONS: The ct gene has not yet been identified. A total of 29 candidate genes remain present in the critical region. Refined mapping studies need to be performed to further narrow the region and additional candidate genes need to be examined.

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Birth Defects Research. Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Biophysical Genomics, Department Cell Biology & Genetics

Brouns, R.M, Peeters, M.C, Geurts, J.M, Merckx, R, Engelen, J, Hekking, J.W.M, … van Straaten, H.W. (2005). Toward positional cloning of the curly tail gene. Birth Defects Research. Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 73(3), 154–161. doi:10.1002/bdra.20109