International Mammalian Genome Society

The 14th International Mouse Genome Conference (2000)


C6. The Mouse Brain Library @ www.mbl.org

Glenn D. Rosen*, Alexander G. Williams, J. Anthony Capra, Michael T. Connolly, Brian Cruz, Lu Lu, David C. Airey, Anand Kulkarni, Robert W. Williams
University of Tennessee, Center for Neuroscience, 855 Monroe Ave, Memphis TN 38163 USA, and
*Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Ave., Boston MA 02215 USA

The purpose of the Mouse Brain Library (MBL) and iScope projects is to provide the research community with a web-accessible collection of tissue and data suitable for quantitative and qualitative genetic analysis of the mouse central nervous system. The collection currently includes Nissl-stained histological sections from a sample of 110 inbred strains (approximately 6-8 per line) obtained from the Jackson Laboratory. Several of these strains are now being used as part of mutagenesis screens (C3H, BALB/c, C57BL/6J, BTBR). Both sexes and a range of ages (30-650 days) are represented in the MBL. Of key interest to geneticists, 73 recombinant inbred (RI) strains useful for mapping QTLs are included. These RI strains can be exploited to study correlated structural, developmental, and behavioral differences. To complement the MBL image database, we are assembling web-accessible databases on phenotypes for four of the major RI sets, for a set of 500 tenth-generation advanced intercross (AI) progeny, and for a large number of RIX lines. A sophisticated database allows users to search and sort through the MBL image collection. We have produced several complementary brain atlases for web browsing and for detailed analysis of particular brain regions.

The iScope project is an extension of the MBL that allows users to explore the slide collections using a video microscope operated over the web. Image resolution is better than 0.5 Ám/pixel, and quality of the differential interference contrast optics is suitable for detailed stereological analysis of neuronal and glial cell types. The current implementation of the iScope is still experimental, and the system has not yet been interfaced with a slide-handling robot that will eventually permit neurogeneticists to load and examine any case in the collection. However, the user interface is complete and demonstrates reasonably rapid interaction between user and microscope over a high-speed Internet connection.

The ultimate goal of the MBL and iScope projects is to make collaborative QTL mapping studies feasible. In collaboration with Dr. Ken Manly, we intend to provide a suite of web-ready QTL analytic software that will reduce the challenge of complex trait analysis. It is already possible to download high resolution images, genotypes, and correlated behavioral phenotype data to explore the genetics of CNS structure, function, and pathology. Computers with direct Internet access to the MBL databases at www.mbl.org and www.nervenet.org are available to test system video performance.

Acknowledgement: This research was supported by NINDS R01 NS35485 and Human Brain Project P20 MH62009 to GDR and RWW. We thank John Belknap for providing us with a database of phenotypes of BXD strains. We thank the Mammalian Genotyping Service (sponsored by NHLBI) for typing our advanced intercross. We thank Stefany Palmieri for processing tissue.


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