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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Hop Mice Display Synchronous Hindlimb Locomotion and a Ventrally Fused Lumbar Spinal Cord Caused by a Point Mutation in Ttc26

Bernhardt, Nadine; Memic, Fatima; Velica, Anna; Tran, Michelle A.; Vieillard, Jennifer; Sayyab, Shumaila; Chersa, Taha; Andersson, Leif; Whelan, Patrick J.; Boije, Henrik; Kullander, Klas


Identifying the spinal circuits controlling locomotion is critical for unravelling the mechanisms controlling the production of gaits. Development of the circuits governing left-right coordination relies on axon guidance molecules such as ephrins and netrins. To date, no other class of proteins have been shown to play a role during this process. Here, we have analyzed hop mice, which walk with a characteristic hopping gait using their hindlimbs in synchrony. Fictive locomotion experiments suggest that a local defect in the ventral spinal cord contributes to the aberrant locomotor phenotype. Hop mutant spinal cords had severe morphologic defects, including the absence of the ventral midline and a poorly defined border between white and gray matter. The hop mice represent the first model where, exclusively found in the lumbar domain, the left and right components of the central pattern generators (CPGs) are fused with a synchronous hindlimb gait as a functional consequence. These defects were associated with abnormal developmental processes, including a misplaced notochord and reduced induction of ventral progenitor domains. Whereas the underlying mutation in hop mice has been suggested to lie within the Ttc26 gene, other genes in close vicinity have been associated with gait defects. Mouse embryos carrying a CRISPR replicated point mutation within Ttc26 displayed an identical morphologic phenotype. Thus, our data suggest that the assembly of the lumbar CPG network is dependent on fully functional TTC26 protein.


central pattern generator; midline fusion; rabbit-like gait; sonic hedgehog; spinal cord; synchrony

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2022, Volume: 9, number: 2, article number: ENEURO.0518-21.2022

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        Developmental Biology

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