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J Neurochem. 2008 Oct;107(1):253-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05601.x. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Modest loss of peripheral axons, muscle atrophy and formation of brain inclusions in mice with targeted deletion of gigaxonin exon 1.

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CHUL Research Centre and Department of Anatomy and Physiology, Laval University, Québec City, Québec, Canada.


Mutations in the gigaxonin gene are responsible for giant axonal neuropathy (GAN), a progressive neurodegenerative disorder associated with abnormal accumulations of Intermediate Filaments (IFs). Gigaxonin is the substrate-specific adaptor for a new Cul3-E3-ubiquitin ligase family that promotes the proteasome dependent degradation of its partners MAP1B, MAP8 and tubulin cofactor B. Here, we report the generation of a mouse model with targeted deletion of Gan exon 1 (Gan(Deltaexon1;Deltaexon1)). Analyses of the Gan(Deltaexon1;Deltaexon1) mice revealed increased levels of various IFs proteins in the nervous system and the presence of IFs inclusion bodies in the brain. Despite deficiency of full length gigaxonin, the Gan(Deltaexon1;Deltaexon1) mice do not develop overt neurological phenotypes and giant axons reminiscent of the human GAN disease. Nonetheless, at 6 months of age the Gan(Deltaexon1;Deltaexon1) mice exhibit a modest hind limb muscle atrophy, a 10% decrease of muscle innervation and a 27% axonal loss in the L5 ventral roots. This new mouse model should provide a useful tool to test potential therapeutic approaches for GAN disease.

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