Indexed on: 16 Apr '10Published on: 16 Apr '10Published in: Cell Stress and Chaperones
The mitochondrial Hsp60 chaperonin plays an important role in sustaining cellular viability. Its dysfunction is related to inherited forms of the human diseases spastic paraplegia and hypomyelinating leukodystrophy. However, it is unknown whether the requirement for Hsp60 is neuron specific or whether a complete loss of the protein will impair mammalian development and postnatal survival. In this study, we describe the generation and characterization of a mutant mouse line bearing an inactivating gene-trap insertion in the Hspd1 gene encoding Hsp60. We found that heterozygous mice were born at the expected ratio compared to wild-type mice and displayed no obvious phenotype deficits. Using quantitative reverse transcription PCR, we found significantly decreased levels of the Hspd1 transcript in all of the tissues examined, demonstrating that the inactivation of the Hspd1 gene is efficient. By Western blot analysis, we found that the amount of Hsp60 protein, compared to either cytosolic tubulin or mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion-selective channel protein 1/porin, was decreased as well. The expression of the nearby Hspe1 gene, which encodes the Hsp10 co-chaperonin, was concomitantly down regulated in the liver, and the protein levels in all tissues except the brain were reduced. Homozygous Hspd1 mutant embryos, however, died shortly after implantation (day 6.5 to 7.5 of gestation, Theiler stages 9–10). Our results demonstrate that Hspd1 is an essential gene for early embryonic development in mice, while reducing the amount of Hsp60 by inactivation of one allele of the gene is compatible with survival to term as well as postnatal life.