Segregation distortion of mouse t-haplotypes: The molecular basis emerges

Schimenti, J,  Trends in Genetics,  16:240-243. 2000.

The t haplotype is an ancestral version of proximal mouse chromosome 17 that has evolved mechanisms to persist as an intact genomic variant in mouse populations. t haplotypes contain mutations that affect embryonic development, male fertility and male transmission ratio distortion (TRD), Collectively, these mutations drive the evolutionary success of t haplotypes, a phenomenon that remains one of the longstanding mysteries of mouse genetics. Molecular genetic analysis of TRD has been confounded by inversions that arose to lock together the various elements of this complex trait. Our first molecular glimpse of the TRD mechanism has finally been revealed with the cloning of the t complex responder (Tcr) locus, a chimeric kinase with a genetically cis active effect. Whereas + sperm in a +/t male have impaired flagellar function caused by the deleterious action of trans-active, t-haplotype-encoded ‘distorters,’ the mutant activity of Tcr counterbalances the distorter effects, maintaining the motility and fertilizing ability of t sperm.