Phenotypic and genetic analysis of the cerebellar mutant tmgc26, a new ENU-induced ROR-alpha allele


Dr V. V. Chizhikov, as above.


ROR-alpha is an orphan nuclear receptor, inactivation of which cell-autonomously blocks differentiation of cerebellar Purkinje cells with a secondary loss of granule neurons. As part of our ENU mutagenesis screen we isolated the recessive tmgc26 mouse mutant, characterized by early-onset progressive ataxia, cerebellar degeneration and juvenile lethality. Detailed analysis of the tmgc26−/− cerebella revealed Purkinje cell and granule cell abnormalities, and defects in molecular layer interneurons and radial glia. Chimera studies suggested a cell-autonomous effect of the tmgc26 mutation in Purkinje cells and molecular layer interneurons, and a non-cell-autonomous effect in granule cells. The mutation was mapped to a 13-Mb interval on chromosome 9, a region that contains the ROR-alpha gene. Sequencing of genomic DNA revealed a T-to-A transition in exon 5 of the ROR-alpha gene, resulting in a nonsense mutation C257X and severe truncation of the ROR-alpha protein. Together, our data identify new roles for ROR-alpha in molecular layer interneurons and radial glia development and suggest tmgc26 as a novel ROR-alpha allele that may be used to further delineate the molecular mechanisms of ROR-alpha action.