Mutations in patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 6 (PNPLA6), also known as neuropathy target esterase (NTE) or SPG39, cause hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). Although studies on animal models, including mice and Drosophila, have extended our understanding of PNPLA6, its roles in neural development and in HSP are not clearly understood. Here, we describe the generation of a vertebrate model of PNPLA6 insufficiency using morpholino oligonucleotide knockdown in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Pnpla6 knockdown resulted in developmental abnormalities and motor neuron defects, including axon truncation and branching. The phenotypes in pnpla6 knockdown morphants were rescued by the introduction of wild-type, but not mutant, human PNPLA6 mRNA. Our results also revealed the involvement of BMP signaling in pnpla6 knockdown phenotypes. Taken together, these results demonstrate an important role of PNPLA6 in motor neuron development and implicate overexpression of BMP signaling as a possible mechanism underlying the developmental defects in pnpla6 morphants.
- Received February 15, 2012.
- Accepted August 29, 2012.
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