Mild inborn errors of metabolism in commonly used inbred mouse strains

João Leandro, Sara Violante, Carmen A. Argmann, Jacob Hagen, Tetyana Dodatko, Aaron Bender, Wei Zhang, Evan G. Williams, Alexis M. Bachmann, Johan Auwerx, Chunli Yu, Sander M. Houten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Inbred mouse strains are a cornerstone of translational research but paradoxically many strains carry mild inborn errors of metabolism. For example, α-aminoadipic acidemia and branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase deficiency are known in C57BL/6J mice. Using RNA sequencing, we now reveal the causal variants in Dhtkd1 and Bckdhb, and the molecular mechanism underlying these metabolic defects. C57BL/6J mice have decreased Dhtkd1 mRNA expression due to a solitary long terminal repeat (LTR)in intron 4 of Dhtkd1. This LTR harbors an alternate splice donor site leading to a partial splicing defect and as a consequence decreased total and functional Dhtkd1 mRNA, decreased DHTKD1 protein and α-aminoadipic acidemia. Similarly, C57BL/6J mice have decreased Bckdhb mRNA expression due to an LTR retrotransposon in intron 1 of Bckdhb. This transposable element encodes an alternative exon 1 causing aberrant splicing, decreased total and functional Bckdhb mRNA and decreased BCKDHB protein. Using a targeted metabolomics screen, we also reveal elevated plasma C5-carnitine in 129 substrains. This biochemical phenotype resembles isovaleric acidemia and is caused by an exonic splice mutation in Ivd leading to partial skipping of exon 10 and IVD protein deficiency. In summary, this study identifies three causal variants underlying mild inborn errors of metabolism in commonly used inbred mouse strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)388-396
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Inborn errors of metabolism
  • Inbred mouse strains
  • Mouse genetics
  • Recombinant inbred mouse strains
  • Splicing defects


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