Er-Lukowiak M, Duan Y, Rassendren F, Ulmann L, Nicke A, Ufer F, Friese MA, Koch-Nolte F, Magnus T, Rissiek B.

Among laboratory mouse strains many genes are differentially expressed in the same cell population. As consequence, gene targeting in 129-derived embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and backcrossing the modified mice onto the C57BL/6 background can introduce passenger mutations in the close proximity of the targeted gene. Here, we demonstrate that several transgenic mice carry a P2rx7 passenger mutation that affects the function of T cells. By the example of P2rx4tm1Rass we demonstrate that P2X4ko T cells express higher levels of P2X7 and are more sensitive toward the P2X7 activators ATP and NAD+, rendering these cells more vulnerable toward NAD-induced cell death (NICD) compared with wild type (WT). The enhanced NICD sensitivity confounded functional assays e.g. cytokine production and cell migration. Our results need to be considered when working with P2rx4tm1Rass mice or other 129-based transgenic strains that target P2rx7 neighboring genes. 

iScience. 2020 Nov 27;23(12)

Link to Pubmed