VIB scientists at Ghent University uncover and display (mousepost.be = mouse polymorphic sequence tags) the full richness of the mouse protein-coding genome for the mouse community.

Numerous scientists apply mice to study their scientific questions. In most cases, mutant genes are generated and studied in an inbred mouse strain. Two important issues compromise this strategy. First, a mutant gene can yield a very different phenotype when studied in two different inbred strains. Second, different versions of a mutant gene can cause different results.

The genome of the reference standard mouse strain C57BL/6J has now been compared with the genome sequence of 36 high priority mouse inbred strains, that have been fully sequenced by The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

Prof. Claude Libert (VIB – UGent) explains: “We focused on all protein-coding genes (~20.000) of each of these 36 strains and compared them with the gold standard C57BL/6J. All deviant mouse genes leading to deviant proteins are given a score which reflects how severe the protein has lost function. We have built a database website (mousepost.be) which is easily searchable. A scientist can thus find which proteins have lost function in a certain mouse strain, and can also search in which mouse strain a certain protein has lost function. This way, for any gene, all mutant alleles present in any of the sequenced strains is displayed at once.“

That their searchable website is really working well was evident when the authors easily found some highly reputed point mutations in genes as Tyrosinase (Tyr) and Tlr4 which cause albinism in the strain BALB/c and resistance to endotoxins in strain C3HHeJ respectively. This way numerous new mutant alleles of interesting genes are retrieved from the dataset and open new research direction.


Complete overview of protein-inactivating sequence variations in 36 sequenced mouse inbred strains, Timmermans, Van Montagu and Libert, PNAS 2017

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