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PLoS One. 2011 Apr 28;6(4):e19236. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019236.

RhoE deficiency produces postnatal lethality, profound motor deficits and neurodevelopmental delay in mice.

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1
Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Health Sciences, Universidad CEU Cardenal Herrera, Moncada, Valencia, Spain.

Abstract

Rnd proteins are a subfamily of Rho GTPases involved in the control of actin cytoskeleton dynamics and other cell functions such as motility, proliferation and survival. Unlike other members of the Rho family, Rnd proteins lack GTPase activity and therefore remain constitutively active. We have recently described that RhoE/Rnd3 is expressed in the Central Nervous System and that it has a role in promoting neurite formation. Despite their possible relevance during development, the role of Rnd proteins in vivo is not known. To get insight into the in vivo function of RhoE we have generated mice lacking RhoE expression by an exon trapping cassette. RhoE null mice (RhoE gt/gt) are smaller at birth, display growth retardation and early postnatal death since only half of RhoE gt/gt mice survive beyond postnatal day (PD) 15 and 100% are dead by PD 29. RhoE gt/gt mice show an abnormal body position with profound motor impairment and impaired performance in most neurobehavioral tests. Null mutant mice are hypoactive, show an immature locomotor pattern and display a significant delay in the appearance of the hindlimb mature responses. Moreover, they perform worse than the control littermates in the wire suspension, vertical climbing and clinging, righting reflex and negative geotaxis tests. Also, RhoE ablation results in a delay of neuromuscular maturation and in a reduction in the number of spinal motor neurons. Finally, RhoE gt/gt mice lack the common peroneal nerve and, consequently, show a complete atrophy of the target muscles. This is the first model to study the in vivo functions of a member of the Rnd subfamily of proteins, revealing the important role of Rnd3/RhoE in the normal development and suggesting the possible involvement of this protein in neurological disorders.

PMID:
21552537
PMCID:
PMC3084285
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0019236
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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