[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hereditary ataxias are a complex group of neurological disorders characterized by the degeneration of the cerebellum and its associated connections. The molecular mechanisms that trigger the loss of Purkinje cells in this group of diseases remain incompletely understood. Here, we report a previously undescribed dominant mouse model of cerebellar ataxia, moonwalker (Mwk), that displays motor and coordination defects and loss of cerebellar Purkinje cells. Mwk mice harbor a gain-of-function mutation (T635A) in the Trpc3 gene encoding the nonselective transient receptor potential cation channel, type C3 (TRPC3), resulting in altered TRPC3 channel gating. TRPC3 is highly expressed in Purkinje cells during the phase of dendritogenesis. Interestingly, growth and differentiation of Purkinje cell dendritic arbors are profoundly impaired in Mwk mice. Our findings define a previously unknown role for TRPC3 in both dendritic development and survival of Purkinje cells, and provide a unique mechanism underlying cerebellar ataxia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2009; 106(16):6706-11. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In humans, mutations in the enzyme glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS) cause motor and sensory axon loss in the peripheral nervous system, and clinical phenotypes ranging from Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy to a severe infantile form of spinal muscular atrophy. GARS is ubiquitously expressed and may have functions in addition to its canonical role in protein synthesis through catalyzing the addition of glycine to cognate tRNAs.
We have recently described a new mouse model with a point mutation in the Gars gene resulting in a cysteine to arginine change at residue 201. Heterozygous Gars(C201R/+) mice have locomotor and sensory deficits. In an investigation of genetic mutations that lead to death of motor and sensory neurons, we have crossed the Gars(C201R/+) mice to two other mutants: the TgSOD1(G93A) model of human amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and the Legs at odd angles mouse (Dync1h1(Loa)) which has a defect in the heavy chain of the dynein complex. We found the Dync1h1(Loa/+);Gars(C201R/+) double heterozygous mice are more impaired than either parent, and this is may be an additive effect of both mutations. Surprisingly, the Gars(C201R) mutation significantly delayed disease onset in the SOD1(G93A);Gars(C201R/+) double heterozygous mutant mice and increased lifespan by 29% on the genetic background investigated.
These findings raise intriguing possibilities for the study of pathogenetic mechanisms in all three mouse mutant strains.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6218. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations in the enzyme glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GARS) cause motor and sensory axon loss in the peripheral nervous system in humans, described clinically as Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2D or distal spinal muscular atrophy type V. Here, we characterise a new mouse mutant, Gars(C201R), with a point mutation that leads to a non-conservative substitution within GARS. Heterozygous mice with a C3H genetic background have loss of grip strength, decreased motor flexibility and disruption of fine motor control; this relatively mild phenotype is more severe on a C57BL/6 background. Homozygous mutants have a highly deleterious set of features, including movement difficulties and death before weaning. Heterozygous animals have a reduction in axon diameter in peripheral nerves, slowing of nerve conduction and an alteration in the recovery cycle of myelinated axons, as well as innervation defects. An assessment of GARS levels showed increased protein in 15-day-old mice compared with controls; however, this increase was not observed in 3-month-old animals, indicating that GARS function may be more crucial in younger animals. We found that enzyme activity was not reduced detectably in heterozygotes at any age, but was diminished greatly in homozygous mice compared with controls; thus, homozygous animals may suffer from a partial loss of function. The Gars(C201R) mutation described here is a contribution to our understanding of the mechanism by which mutations in tRNA synthetases, which are fundamentally important, ubiquitously expressed enzymes, cause axonopathy in specific sets of neurons.
Disease Models and Mechanisms 01/2009; 2(7-8):359-73. · 4.96 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Outbred mouse stocks, often used in genetics, toxicology and pharmacology research, have been generated in rather haphazard ways. Understanding the characteristics of these stocks and their advantages and disadvantages is important for experimental design. In many studies these mice are used inappropriately, wasting animals' lives and resources on suboptimal experiments. Recently, however, researchers from the field of complex trait analysis have capitalized on the genetics of outbred stocks to refine the identification of quantitative trait loci. Here we assess the most widely used outbred stocks of mice and present guidelines for their use.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The SOD1G93A transgenic mouse strain which carries a human mutant Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase transgene array is a widely studied model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. These mice have been used in many breeding experiments to look for interactions with other loci, including transgenic and gene targeted mutations. Therefore, we decided to map the site of the transgene insertion as this may affect the outcome of such breeding experiments. In a fluorescence in situ hybridization experiment we determined that the SOD1G93A transgene insertion site lies on distal mouse chromosome 12. This chromosome also carries the 'Legs at odd angles' locus, which is an entirely unrelated mutation in the dynein heavy chain gene that we have been studying. We have analysed data from a SOD1G93AxLoa cross and determined that the site of the transgene insertion lies proximal of the dynein heavy chain gene on mouse chromosome 12.