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Neurosci Res. 2013 Dec;77(4):234-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

A unique mouse model for investigating the properties of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-associated protein TDP-43, by in utero electroporation.

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Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Japan. Electronic address:


TDP-43 is a discriminative protein that is found as intracellular aggregations in the neurons of the cerebral cortex and spinal cord of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS); however, the mechanisms of neuron loss and its relation to the aggregations are still unclear. In this study, we generated a useful model to produce TDP-43 aggregations in the motor cortex using in utero electroporation on mouse embryos. The plasmids used were full-length TDP-43 and C-terminal fragments of TDP-43 (wild-type or M337V mutant) tagged with GFP. For the full-length TDP-43, both wild-type and mutant, electroporated TDP-43 localized mostly in the nucleus, and though aggregations were detected in embryonic brains, they were very rarely observed at P7 and P21. In contrast, TDP-43 aggregations were generated in the brains electroporated with the C-terminal TDP-43 fragments as previously reported in in vitro experiments. TDP-43 protein was distributed diffusely-not only in the nucleus, but also in the cytoplasm-and the inclusion bodies were ubiquitinated and included phosphorylated TDP-43, which reflects the human pathology of ALS. This model using in utero electroporation of pathogenic genes into the brain of the mouse will likely become a useful model for studying ALS and also for evaluation of agents for therapeutic purpose, and may be applicable to other neurodegenerative diseases, as well.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; In utero electroporation; Inclusion body; TDP-43

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