, a bio/informatics shared resource is still "open for business" - Visit the CDS website
Cumulative evidence suggests that Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) is the consequence of multiple gene interactions that modulate the ability of enteric neural crest (NC) cells to populate the developing gut. One of the essential genes for this process is the NC transcription factor Sox10. Sox10Dom mice on a mixed genetic background show variation in penetrance and expressivity of enteric aganglionosis that are analogous to the variable aganglionosis seen in human HSCR families. The phenotype of Sox10Dom mice in congenic lines indicates this variation arises from modifiers in the genetic background. To determine whether known HSCR susceptibility loci are acting as modifiers of Sox10, we tested for association between genes in the endothelin signaling pathway (EdnrB, Edn3, Ece1) and severity of aganglionosis in an extended pedigree of B6C3FeLe.Sox10Dom mice. Single locus association analysis in this pedigree identifies interaction between EdnrB and Sox10. Additional analysis of F2 intercross progeny confirms a highly significant effect of EdnrB alleles on the Sox10Dom/+ phenotype. The presence of C57BL/6J alleles at EdnrB is associated with increased penetrance and more severe aganglionosis in Sox10Dom mutants. Crosses between EdnrB and Sox10 mutants corroborate this gene interaction with double mutant progeny exhibiting significantly more severe aganglionosis. The background strain of the EdnrB mutant further influences the phenotype of Sox10/EdnrB double mutant progeny implying the action of additional modifiers on this phenotype. Our data demonstrates that Sox10-EdnrB interactions can influence development of the enteric nervous system in mouse models and suggests that this interaction could contribute to the epistatic network producing variation between patients with aganglionosis.