Viral delivery of C9ORF72 hexanucleotide repeat expansions in mice lead to repeat length dependent neuropathology and behavioral deficits

Saul Herranz-Martin, Jayanth Chandran, Katherine Lewis, Padraig Mulcahy, Adrian Higginbottom, Callum Walker, Isabel Martinez-Pena Y Valenzuela, Ross Jones, Ian Coldicott, Tommaso Iannitti, Mohammed Akaaboune, Sherif F El-Khamisy, Thomas H Gillingwater, Pamela J Shaw, Mimoun Azzouz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Intronic GGGGCC repeat expansions in C9orf72 are the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Two major pathologies stemming from the hexanucleotide RNA expansions (HREs) have been identified in postmortem tissue: intracellular RNA foci and repeat-associated non-ATG dependent (RAN) dipeptides, though it is unclear how these and other hallmarks of disease contribute to the pathophysiology of neuronal injury. Here we generated two novel lines of mice that overexpress either 10 pure or 102 interrupted G4C2 repeats mediated by adeno-associated virus (AAV) and characterized relevant pathology and disease-related behavioral phenotypes. Similar levels of intracellular RNA foci developed in both lines of mice, but only mice expressing 102 repeats generated c9-RAN pathology, neuromuscular junction (NMJ) abnormalities, dispersal of the hippocampal CA1, enhanced apoptosis, and deficits in gait and cognition. Neither line of mice, however, showed extensive TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) pathology or neurodegeneration. Our data suggests that RNA foci pathology is not a good predictor of c9-RAN dipeptide formation, and that RAN dipeptides and NMJ dysfunction are drivers of c9-disease pathogenesis. These AAV-mediated models of C9orf72 ALS/FTD will be useful tools for studying disease pathophysiology and developing new therapeutic approaches.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDisease Models and Mechanisms
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2017

Keywords

  • Journal Article

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