SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • glycine receptor;
  • hereditary hyperekplexia;
  • spa/spa TG456 mice;
  • startle syndrome

Abstract

Startle disease or hereditary hyperekplexia has been shown to result from mutations in the α1-subunit gene of the inhibitory glycine receptor (GlyR). In hyperekplexia patients, neuromotor symptoms generally become apparent at birth, improve with age, and often disappear in adulthood. Loss-of-function mutations of GlyR α or β-subunits in mice show rather severe neuromotor phenotypes. Here, we generated mutant mice with a transient neuromotor deficiency by introducing a GlyR β transgene into the spastic mouse (spa/spa), a recessive mutant carrying a transposon insertion within the GlyR β-subunit gene. In spa/spa TG456 mice, one of three strains generated with this construct, which expressed very low levels of GlyR β transgene-dependent mRNA and protein, the spastic phenotype was found to depend upon the transgene copy number. Notably, mice carrying two copies of the transgene showed an age-dependent sensitivity to tremor induction, which peaked at ∼ 3–4 weeks postnatally. This closely resembles the development of symptoms in human hyperekplexia patients, where motor coordination significantly improves after adolescence. The spa/spa TG456 line thus may serve as an animal model of human startle disease.