Genetic redundancy can be exploited to identify therapeutic targets for inherited disorders. We explored this possibility in DYT1 dystonia, a neurodevelopmental movement disorder caused by a loss-of-function (LOF) mutation in the TOR1A gene encoding torsinA. Prior work demonstrates that torsinA and its paralog torsinB have conserved functions at the nuclear envelope. This work established that low neuronal levels of torsinB dictate the neuronal selective phenotype of nuclear membrane budding. Here, we examined whether torsinB expression levels impact the onset or severity of abnormal movements or neuropathological features in DYT1 mouse models. We demonstrate that torsinB levels bidirectionally regulate these phenotypes. Reducing torsinB levels causes a dose-dependent worsening whereas torsinB overexpression rescues torsinA LOF-mediated abnormal movements and neurodegeneration. These findings identify torsinB as a potent modifier of torsinA LOF phenotypes and suggest that augmentation of torsinB expression may retard or prevent symptom development in DYT1 dystonia.
Our study did not generate sequencing or structural data. All source data files have been provided.
- William T Dauer
- William T Dauer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All procedures complied with national ethical guidelines regarding the use of rodents in scientific research and were approved by the University of Michigan (Protocol #00006600 and Protocol #00008870) and University of Texas Southwestern (Protocol #102767) Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees. Every effort was made to minimize both number of mice utilized as well as suffering.
- Harry T Orr, University of Minnesota, United States
© 2020, Li et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Imaging experiments reveal the complex and dynamic nature of the transcriptional hubs associated with Notch signaling.
Cylicins are testis-specific proteins, which are exclusively expressed during spermiogenesis. In mice and humans, two Cylicins, the gonosomal X-linked Cylicin 1 (Cylc1/CYLC1) and the autosomal Cylicin 2 (Cylc2/CYLC2) genes, have been identified. Cylicins are cytoskeletal proteins with an overall positive charge due to lysine-rich repeats. While Cylicins have been localized in the acrosomal region of round spermatids, they resemble a major component of the calyx within the perinuclear theca at the posterior part of mature sperm nuclei. However, the role of Cylicins during spermiogenesis has not yet been investigated. Here, we applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in zygotes to establish Cylc1- and Cylc2-deficient mouse lines as a model to study the function of these proteins. Cylc1 deficiency resulted in male subfertility, whereas Cylc2-/-, Cylc1-/yCylc2+/-, and Cylc1-/yCylc2-/- males were infertile. Phenotypical characterization revealed that loss of Cylicins prevents proper calyx assembly during spermiogenesis. This results in decreased epididymal sperm counts, impaired shedding of excess cytoplasm, and severe structural malformations, ultimately resulting in impaired sperm motility. Furthermore, exome sequencing identified an infertile man with a hemizygous variant in CYLC1 and a heterozygous variant in CYLC2, displaying morphological abnormalities of the sperm including the absence of the acrosome. Thus, our study highlights the relevance and importance of Cylicins for spermiogenic remodeling and male fertility in human and mouse, and provides the basis for further studies on unraveling the complex molecular interactions between perinuclear theca proteins required during spermiogenesis.