An allelic series of mice reveals a role for RERE in the development of multiple organs affected in chromosome 1p36 deletions.
Individuals with terminal and interstitial deletions of chromosome 1p36 have a spectrum of defects that includes eye anomalies, postnatal growth deficiency, structural brain anomalies, seizures, cognitive impairment, delayed motor development, behavior problems, hearing loss, cardiovascular malformations, cardiomyopathy, and renal anomalies. The proximal 1p36 genes that contribute to these defects have not been clearly delineated. The arginine-glutamic acid dipeptide (RE) repeats gene (RERE) is located in this region and encodes a nuclear receptor coregulator that plays a critical role in embryonic development as a positive regulator of retinoic acid signaling. Rere-null mice die of cardiac failure between E9.5 and E11.5. This limits their usefulness in studying the role of RERE in the latter stages of development and into adulthood. To overcome this limitation, we created an allelic series of RERE-deficient mice using an Rere-null allele, om, and a novel hypomorphic Rere allele, eyes3 (c.578T>C, p.Val193Ala), which we identified in an N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-based screen for autosomal recessive phenotypes. Analyses of these mice revealed microphthalmia, postnatal growth deficiency, brain hypoplasia, decreased numbers of neuronal nuclear antigen (NeuN)-positive hippocampal neurons, hearing loss, cardiovascular malformations-aortic arch anomalies, double outlet right ventricle, and transposition of the great arteries, and perimembranous ventricular septal defects-spontaneous development of cardiac fibrosis and renal agenesis. These findings suggest that RERE plays a critical role in the development and function of multiple organs including the eye, brain, inner ear, heart and kidney. It follows that haploinsufficiency of RERE may contribute-alone or in conjunction with other genetic, environmental, or stochastic factors-to the development of many of the phenotypes seen in individuals with terminal and interstitial deletions that include the proximal region of chromosome 1p36.