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

Cloning and targeted deletion of the mouse fetuin gene.

We proposed that the alpha2-Heremans Schmid glycoprotein/fetuin family of serum proteins inhibits unwanted mineralization. To test this hypothesis in animals, we cloned the mouse fetuin gene and generated mice lacking fetuin. The gene consists of seven exons and six introns. The cystatin-like domains D1 and D2 of mouse fetuin are encoded by three exons each, whereas a single terminal exon encodes the carboxyl-terminal domain D3. The promoter structure is well conserved between rat and mouse fetuin genes within the regions shown to bind transcription factors in the rat system. Expression studies demonstrated that mice homozygous for the gene deletion lacked fetuin protein and that mice heterozygous for the null mutation produced roughly half the amount of fetuin protein produced by wild-type mice. Fetuin-deficient mice were fertile and showed no gross anatomical abnormalities. However, the serum inhibition of apatite formation was compromised in these mice as well as in heterozygotes. In addition, some homozygous fetuin-deficient female ex-breeders developed ectopic microcalcifications in soft tissues. These results corroborate a role for fetuin in serum calcium homeostasis. The fact that generalized ectopic calcification did not occur in fetuin-deficient mice proves that additional inhibitors of phase separation exist in serum.[1]


  1. Cloning and targeted deletion of the mouse fetuin gene. Jahnen-Dechent, W., Schinke, T., Trindl, A., Müller-Esterl, W., Sablitzky, F., Kaiser, S., Blessing, M. J. Biol. Chem. (1997) [Pubmed]
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