A hypomorphic Cbx3 allele causes prenatal growth restriction and perinatal energy homeostasis defects

Ebru Aydin, Dick-Paul Kloos, Emmanuel Gay, Willem Jonker, Lijuan Hu, Jorn Bullwinkel, Jeremy P Brown, Maria Manukyan, Martin Giera, Prim B Singh, Reinald Fundele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Mammals have three HP1 protein isotypes HP1 beta (CBX1), HP1 alpha (CBX3) and HP1 alpha (CBX5) that are encoded by the corresponding genes Cbx1, Cbx3 and Cbx5. Recent work has shown that reduction of CBX3 protein in homozygotes for a hypomorphic allele (Cbx3hypo) causes a severe postnatal mortality with around 99 percent of the homozygotes dying before weaning. It is not known what the causes of the postnatal mortality are. Here we show that Cbx3hypo/hypo conceptuses are significantly reduced in size and the placentas exhibit a haplo-insufficiency. Late gestation Cbx3hypo/hypo placentas have reduced mRNA transcripts for genes involved in growth regulation, amino acid and glucose transport. Blood vessels within the Cbx3hypo/hypo placental labyrinth are narrower than wild-type. Newborn Cbx3hypo/hypo pups are hypoglycemic, the livers are depleted of glycogen reserves and there is almost complete loss of stored lipid in brown adipose tissue (BAT). There is a 10-fold reduction in expression of the BAT-specific Ucp1 gene, whose product is responsible for nonshivering themogenesis. We suggest that it is the small size of the Cbx3hypo/hypo neonates, a likely consequence of placental growth and transport defects, combined with a possible inability to thermoregulate that causes the severe postnatal mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-38
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Adipose Tissue, Brown
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Female
  • Fetal Growth Retardation
  • Glycogen
  • Haploinsufficiency
  • Homeostasis
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Lipids
  • Liver
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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