Send to

Choose Destination
Cerebellum. 2014 Feb;13(1):29-41. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0516-5.

Mutant ataxin-3 with an abnormally expanded polyglutamine chain disrupts dendritic development and metabotropic glutamate receptor signaling in mouse cerebellar Purkinje cells.

Author information

Department of Neurophysiology, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan.


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 (SCA3) is caused by the abnormal expansion of CAG repeats within the ataxin-3 gene. Previously, we generated transgenic mice (SCA3 mice) that express a truncated form of ataxin-3 containing abnormally expanded CAG repeats specifically in cerebellar Purkinje cells (PCs). Here, we further characterize these SCA3 mice. Whole-cell patch-clamp analysis of PCs from advanced-stage SCA3 mice revealed a significant decrease in membrane capacitance due to poor dendritic arborization and the complete absence of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype1 (mGluR1)-mediated retrograde suppression of synaptic transmission at parallel fiber terminals, with an overall preservation of AMPA receptor-mediated fast synaptic transmission. Because these cerebellar phenotypes are reminiscent of retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor α (RORα)-defective staggerer mice, we examined the levels of RORα in the SCA3 mouse cerebellum by immunohistochemistry and found a marked reduction of RORα in the nuclei of SCA3 mouse PCs. To confirm that the defects in SCA3 mice were caused by postnatal deposition of mutant ataxin-3 in PCs, not by genome disruption via transgene insertion, we tried to reduce the accumulation of mutant ataxin-3 in developing PCs by viral vector-mediated expression of CRAG, a molecule that facilitates the degradation of stress proteins. Concomitant with the removal of mutant ataxin-3, CRAG-expressing PCs had greater numbers of differentiated dendrites compared to non-transduced PCs and exhibited retrograde suppression of synaptic transmission following mGluR1 activation. These results suggest that postnatal nuclear accumulation of mutant ataxin-3 disrupts dendritic differentiation and mGluR-signaling in SCA3 mouse PCs, and this disruption may be caused by a defect in a RORα-driven transcription pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center