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Dramatically different phenotypes in mouse models of human Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff diseases.

Authors:
Phaneuf D, Wakamatsu N, Huang JQ, Borowski A, Peterson AC, Fortunato SR, Ritter G, Igdoura SA, Morales CR, Benoit G, Akerman BR, Leclerc D, Hanai N, Marth JD, Trasler JM, Gravel RA
Affiliation:
Journal:
Human molecular genetics

Abstract

We have generated mouse models of human Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff diseases by targeted disruption of the Hexa (alpha subunit) or Hexb (beta subunit) genes, respectively, encoding lysosomal beta-hexosaminidase A (structure, alpha) and B (structure, beta beta). Both mutant mice accumulate GM2 ganglioside in brain, much more so in Hexb -/- mice, and the latter also accumulate glycolipid GA2. Hexa -/- mice suffer no obvious behavioral or neurological deficit, while Hexb -/- mice develop a fatal neurodegenerative disease, with spasticity, muscle weakness, rigidity, tremor and ataxia. The Hexb -/- but not the Hexa -/- mice have massive depletion of spinal cord axons as an apparent consequence of neuronal storage of GM2. We propose that Hexa -/- mice escape disease through partial catabolism of accumulated GM2 via GA2 (asialo-GM2) through the combined action of sialidase and beta-hexosaminidase B.

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