Menkes syndrome in humans is an X-linked disorder characterized in part by abnormal copper transport, cellular copper sequestration, and defective crosslinking of collagen and elastin. A decrease in the functional activity of lysyl oxidase, a cuproenzyme, is thought in part to be responsible for the decreased crosslinking of collagen and elastin. It has also been suggested that low levels of lysyl oxidase activity may occur secondarily to disturbances in intracellular copper translocation and consequently impaired incorporation of copper into lysyl oxidase. Herein, we examine the expression and accumulation of selected extracellular matrix proteins in fibroblasts from a Menkes patient, as well as fibroblasts from the tortoiseshell (MoTo/y) mouse. The MoTo mutation is an allele of the mottled (Mo) locus, which is considered to be a murine analog of the human Menkes locus. In both Menkes and tortoiseshell fibroblasts, levels of lysyl oxidase mRNA transcripts were less than 15% of levels for corresponding controls. The level of elastin mRNA transcripts was also markedly lower in both cell lines in comparison to controls. In contrast, the levels of procollagen Type I mRNA were similar or enhanced in Menkes and MoTo/y fibroblasts compared to their respective controls. Consequently, we conclude that the connective tissue defects associated with Menkes syndrome and those occurring in mottled mouse mutants involve more than abnormal copper utilization in the formation of lysyl oxidase holoenzyme. Based on the present studies in cell culture, the production of essential enzymes and matrix proteins, such as lysyl oxidase and elastin, appear to be altered at the level of transcription or mRNA turnover.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology