Research Article

Genetic, biochemical, and anatomic characterization of neurological mutant 3, a new mouse model for Parkinson’s disease

Published: September 30, 2003
Genet. Mol. Res. 2 (3) : 288-294

Abstract

We have identified a new mutant mouse that we have named new mouse neurological mutant 3 (NM3); it may be a useful model to understand the underlying molecular and genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). A mouse carrying the NM3 mutation arose spontaneously in an RIIIS/J breeding colony and was identified as having a movement disorder. Upon neurological examination of these mice, their movement was found to be slow and abnormal, with characteristic choreaform and bradykinetic-type movements, typical of PD. The importance of the gene mutation in NM3 in the molecular pathway involved in this pathology is underscored by the fact that these mice do not survive past weaning age if they are homozygous for the genetic mutation. We localized the gene mutation by positional cloning and genetic mapping to mouse chromosome 2 in an area that corresponds to human chromosome 2q24-31, which does not contain any known genes associated with PD. However, there was a significant decrease of 15-20% in the levels of dopamine, and its principal metabolite, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, in the midbrain of affected mice. Low concentrations of these substances are associated with PD in human patients, making these mutant mice candidates for studies of this disease.

We have identified a new mutant mouse that we have named new mouse neurological mutant 3 (NM3); it may be a useful model to understand the underlying molecular and genetic basis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). A mouse carrying the NM3 mutation arose spontaneously in an RIIIS/J breeding colony and was identified as having a movement disorder. Upon neurological examination of these mice, their movement was found to be slow and abnormal, with characteristic choreaform and bradykinetic-type movements, typical of PD. The importance of the gene mutation in NM3 in the molecular pathway involved in this pathology is underscored by the fact that these mice do not survive past weaning age if they are homozygous for the genetic mutation. We localized the gene mutation by positional cloning and genetic mapping to mouse chromosome 2 in an area that corresponds to human chromosome 2q24-31, which does not contain any known genes associated with PD. However, there was a significant decrease of 15-20% in the levels of dopamine, and its principal metabolite, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, in the midbrain of affected mice. Low concentrations of these substances are associated with PD in human patients, making these mutant mice candidates for studies of this disease.

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