Characterization of timed changes in hepatic copper concentrations, Methionine metabolism, gene expression, and global DNA Methylation in the Jackson toxic milk mouse model of Wilson disease

Anh Le, Noreene M. Shibata, Samuel W. French, Kyoungmi Kim, Kusum Kharbanda, Mohammad S. Islam, Janine M. Lasalle, Charles H. Halsted, Carl L. Keen, Valentina Medici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Background: Wilson disease (WD) is characterized by hepatic copper accumulation with progressive liver damage to cirrhosis. This study aimed to characterize the toxic milk mouse from The Jackson Laboratory (Bar Harbor, ME, USA) (tx-j) mouse model of WD according to changes over time in hepatic copper concentrations, methionine metabolism, global DNA methylation, and gene expression from gestational day 17 (fetal) to adulthood (28 weeks). Methods: Included liver histology and relevant biochemical analyses including hepatic copper quantification, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) liver levels, qPCR for transcript levels of genes relevant to methionine metabolism and liver damage, and DNA dot blot for global DNA methylation. Results: Hepatic copper was lower in tx-j fetuses but higher in weanling (three weeks) and adult tx-j mice compared to controls. S-adenosylhomocysteinase transcript levels were significantly lower at all time points, except at three weeks, correlating negatively with copper levels and with consequent changes in the SAM:SAH methylation ratio and global DNA methylation. Conclusion: Compared to controls, methionine metabolism including S-adenosylhomocysteinase gene expression is persistently different in the tx-j mice with consequent alterations in global DNA methylation in more advanced stages of liver disease. The inhibitory effect of copper accumulation on S-adenosylhomocysteinase expression is associated with progressively abnormal methionine metabolism and decreased methylation capacity and DNA global methylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8004-8023
Number of pages20
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2014



  • Copper
  • DNA
  • Gene expression
  • Methylation
  • Wilson disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry

Cite this