PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles

Respiratory Medicine

Synchronizing Allelic Effects of Opposing Quantitative Trait Loci Confirmed a Major Epistatic Interaction Affecting Acute Lung Injury Survival in Mice
Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Author: Daniel R. Prows et al.

by Daniel R. Prows, William J. Gibbons, Benjamin B. Burzynski

Increased oxygen (O2) levels help manage severely injured patients, but too much for too long can cause acute lung injury (ALI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and even death. In fact, continuous hyperoxia has become a prototype in rodents to mimic salient clinical and pathological characteristics of ALI/ARDS. To identify genes affecting hyperoxia-induced ALI (HALI), we previously established a mouse model of differential susceptibility. Genetic analysis of backcross and F2 populations derived from sensitive (C57BL/6J; B) and resistant (129X1/SvJ; X1) inbred strains identified five quantitative trait loci (QTLs; Shali1-5) linked to HALI survival time. Interestingly, analysis of these recombinant populations supported opposite within-strain effects on survival for the two major-effect QTLs. Whereas Shali1 alleles imparted the expected survival time effects (i.e., X1 alleles increased HALI resistance and B alleles increased sensitivity), the allelic effects of Shali2 were reversed (i.e., X1 alleles increased HALI sensitivity and B alleles increased resistance). For in vivo validation of these inverse allelic effects, we constructed reciprocal congenic lines to synchronize the sensitivity or resistance alleles of Shali1 and Shali2 within the same strain. Specifically, B-derived Shali1 or Shali2 QTL regions were transferred to X1 mice and X1-derived QTL segments were transferred to B mice. Our previous QTL results predicted that substituting Shali1 B alleles onto the resistant X1 background would add sensitivity. Surprisingly, not only were these mice more sensitive than the resistant X1 strain, they were more sensitive than the sensitive B strain. In stark contrast, substituting the Shali2 interval from the sensitive B strain onto the X1 background markedly increased the survival time. Reciprocal congenic lines confirmed the opposing allelic effects of Shali1 and Shali2 on HALI survival time and provide unique models to identify their respective quantitative trait genes and to critically assess the apparent bidirectional epistatic interactions between these major-effect loci.