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Persistent motor dysfunction despite homeostatic rescue of cerebellar morphogenesis in the Car8 waddles mutant mouse
Purkinje cells play a central role in establishing the cerebellar circuit. Accordingly, disrupting Purkinje cell development impairs cerebellar morphogenesis and motor function. In the Car8wdl mouse model of hereditary ataxia, severe motor deficits arise despite the cerebellum overcoming initial defects in size and morphology.
To resolve how this compensation occurs, we asked how the loss of carbonic anhydrase 8 (CAR8), a regulator of IP3R1 Ca2+ signaling in Purkinje cells, alters cerebellar development in Car8wdl mice. Using a combination of histological, physiological, and behavioral analyses, we determined the extent to which the loss of CAR8 affects cerebellar anatomy, neuronal firing, and motor coordination during development.
Our results reveal that granule cell proliferation is reduced in early postnatal mutants, although by the third postnatal week there is enhanced and prolonged proliferation, plus an upregulation of Sox2 expression in the inner EGL. Modified circuit patterning of Purkinje cells and Bergmann glia accompany these granule cell adjustments. We also find that although anatomy eventually normalizes, the abnormal activity of neurons and muscles persists.
Our data show that losing CAR8 only transiently restricts cerebellar growth, but permanently damages its function. These data support two current hypotheses about cerebellar development and disease: (1) Sox2 expression may be upregulated at sites of injury and contribute to the rescue of cerebellar structure and (2) transient delays to developmental processes may precede permanent motor dysfunction. Furthermore, we characterize waddles mutant mouse morphology and behavior during development and propose a Sox2-positive, cell-mediated role for rescue in a mouse model of human motor diseases.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (10.1186/s13064-019-0130-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.