Genetic and phenotypic studies of the dark-like mutant mouse



The dark-like (dal) mutant mouse has a pleiotropic phenotype that includes dark dorsal hairs and reproductive degeneration. Their pigmentation phenotype is similar to Attractin (Atrn) mutants, which also develop vacuoles throughout the brain. In further characterizing the testicular degeneration of dal mutant males, we found that they had reduced serum testosterone and developed vacuoles in their testes. Genetic crosses placed dal upstream of the melanocortin 1 receptor (Mc1r) and downstream of agouti, although dal suppressed the effect of agouti on pigmentation but not body weight. Atrnmg-3J and dal showed additive effects on pigmentation, testicular vacuolation, and spongiform neurodegeneration, but transgenic overexpression of Attractin-like-1 (Atrnl1), which compensates for loss of ATRN, did not rescue dal mutant phenotypes. Our results suggest dal and Atrn function in the same pathway and that identification of the dal gene will provide insight into molecular mechanisms of vacuolation in multiple cell types. genesis 46:562–573, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.