The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Mutation in neurofilament transgene implicates RNA processing in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disease.

PMID 9952405


A mouse neurofilament light subunit (NF-L) transgene with a 36 bp c-myc insert at the end of the coding region was found to have neuropathic effects on enteric and motor neurons of transgenic mice. The severity of phenotype was related directly to the levels of transgenic mRNA expression. High levels of transgene expression were lethal to newborn pups, causing profound alterations in the development of the enteric nervous system and extensive vacuolar changes in motor neurons. Lower levels of transgene expression led to a transient stunting of growth and focal alterations of enteric and motor neurons. Because the positioning of the c-myc insert coincided with the location of the major stability determinant of the NF-L mRNA (Cañete-Soler et al., 1998a,b), additional studies were undertaken. These studies showed that the c-myc insert alters the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes that bind to the stability determinant and disrupts their ability to regulate the stability of the transcripts. The findings indicate that expression of an NF-L transgene with a mutant mRNA stability determinant is highly disruptive to enteric and motor neurons and implicate alterations in RNA processing in the pathogenesis of a neurodegenerative condition.

Related Materials