Spinocerebellar ataxia type 5 (SCA5), a dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by profound Purkinje cell loss, is caused by mutations in SPTBN2, a gene that encodes β-III spectrin. SCA5 is the first neurodegenerative disorder reported to be caused by mutations in a cytoskeletal spectrin gene. We have developed a mouse model to understand the mechanistic basis for this disease and show that expression of mutant but not wild-type β-III spectrin causes progressive motor deficits and cerebellar degeneration. We show that endogenous β-III spectrin interacts with the metabotropic glutamate receptor 1α (mGluR1α) and that mice expressing mutant β-III spectrin have cerebellar dysfunction with altered mGluR1α localization at Purkinje cell dendritic spines, decreased mGluR1-mediated responses, and deficient mGluR1-mediated long-term potentiation. These results indicate that mutant β-III spectrin causes mislocalization and dysfunction of mGluR1α at dendritic spines and connects SCA5 with other disorders involving glutamatergic dysfunction and synaptic plasticity abnormalities.
- Long term potentiation
- Mouse model
- Purkinje cells
- Spinocerebellar ataxia type 5