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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Lens-specific expression of recombinant ricin induces developmental defects in the eyes of transgenic mice.

An expression system for cell lineage ablation in transgenic mice was constructed in which a modified form of the A subunit of ricin, a toxic lectin produced by the castor bean Ricinus communis, can be expressed under the direction of tissue-specific regulatory signals. A chimeric gene was formed by fusing the promoter and 5'-flanking sequences of the lens-specific mouse alpha A-crystallin gene with a modified ricin A cDNA, and this construction was integrated into the germ line of transgenic mice. These animals develop profound microphthalmia with severe developmental defects of the eye, relating primarily to the disorganization and death of cells forming the lens. In addition, this defect is associated with several abnormalities, including eye size, folding of the retina, and ectopic lens material in other regions of the eye. The phenotype of this engineered developmental mutation suggests that the normal development of alpha A-crystallin-producing lens fiber cells is essential for the proper growth, organization, and orientation of optic structures.[1]


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