Adamts18 deletion results in distinct developmental defects and provides a model for congenital disorders of lens, lung, and female reproductive tract development
The ADAMTS family comprises 19 secreted metalloproteinases that cleave extracellular matrix components and have diverse functions in numerous disease and physiological contexts. A number of them remain 'orphan' proteases, among them ADAMTS18, which has been implicated in developmental eye disorders, platelet function and various malignancies. To assess in vivo function of ADAMTS18, we generated a mouse strain with inactivated Adamts18 alleles. In the C57Bl6/Ola background, Adamts18 deficient mice are born in a normal Mendelian ratio, and are viable but show a transient growth delay. Histological examination revealed a 100% penetrant eye defect resulting from leakage of lens material through the lens capsule occurring at embryonic day (E)13.5, when the lens grows rapidly. Adamts18 deficient lungs showed altered bronchiolar branching. Fifty percent of the mutant females are infertile because of vaginal obstruction due to either a dorsoventral vaginal septum or imperforate vagina. The incidence of ovarian rete is increased in the mutant mice. Thus, Adamts18 is essential in the development of distinct tissues and the new mouse strain is likely to be useful for investigating ADAMTS18 function in human disease, particularly in the contexts of infertility and carcinogenesis.