G protein-coupled receptor 4 (GPR4) has recently been identified as a novel proton-sensing receptor. GPR4 is expressed in vascular endothelial, smooth muscle, and several other cell types. UCLA researchers developed a GPR4 knockout mouse in order to better understand the in vivo role of GPR4 and investigate the hypothesis that GPR4 acts as a pH sensor in blood vessels.
Utilizing homologous recombination, UCLA researchers successfully developed a GPR4 -/- mouse line. GPR4 null mice had abnormalities in the formation and organization of blood vessels. Further testing revealed the loss of GPR4 alters the response of blood vessel growth at acidic pH. Additional abnormalities were seen in the lung and kidney. The GPR4 knockout mouse can be utilized to develop and test therapeutic compounds that modulate this receptor, and to test therapeutics intended to regulate blood vessel growth and function under acidic conditions.
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