Mapping SCA1 regional vulnerabilities reveals neural and skeletal muscle contributions to disease

Lisa Duvick, W. Michael Southern, Kellie A. Benzow, Zoe N. Burch, Hillary P. Handler, Jason S. Mitchell, Hannah Kuivinen, Udaya Gadiparthi, Praseuth Yang, Alyssa Soles, Carrie A. Sheeler, Orion Rainwater, Shannah Serres, Erin B. Lind, Tessa Nichols-Meade, Yun You, Brennon O'Callaghan, Huda Y. Zoghbi, Marija Cvetanovic, Vanessa C. WheelerJames M. Ervasti, Michael D. Koob, Harry T. Orr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease caused by an expanded polyglutamine tract in the widely expressed ataxin-1 (ATXN1) protein. To elucidate anatomical regions and cell types that underlie mutant ATXN1-induced disease phenotypes, we developed a floxed conditional knockin mouse (f-ATXN1146Q/2Q) with mouse Atxn1 coding exons replaced by human ATXN1 exons encoding 146 glutamines. f-ATXN1146Q/2Q mice manifested SCA1-like phenotypes including motor and cognitive deficits, wasting, and decreased survival. Central nervous system (CNS) contributions to disease were revealed using f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;Nestin-Cre mice, which showed improved rotarod, open field, and Barnes maze performance by 6-12 weeks of age. In contrast, striatal contributions to motor deficits using f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;Rgs9-Cre mice revealed that mice lacking ATXN1146Q/2Q in striatal medium-spiny neurons showed a trending improvement in rotarod performance at 30 weeks of age. Surprisingly, a prominent role for muscle contributions to disease was revealed in f-ATXN1146Q/2Q;ACTA1-Cre mice based on their recovery from kyphosis and absence of muscle pathology. Collectively, data from the targeted conditional deletion of the expanded allele demonstrated CNS and peripheral contributions to disease and highlighted the need to consider muscle in addition to the brain for optimal SCA1 therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere176057
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 8 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024, Duvick et al.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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