DYT1 is a debilitating movement disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in torsinA. How these mutations cause dystonia remains unknown. Mouse models which have embryonically targeted torsinA have failed to recapitulate the dystonia seen in patients, possibly due to differential developmental compensation between rodents and humans. To address this issue, torsinA was acutely knocked down in select brain regions of adult mice using shRNAs. TorsinA knockdown in the cerebellum, but not in the basal ganglia, was sufficient to induce dystonia. In agreement with a potential developmental compensation for loss of torsinA in rodents, torsinA knockdown in the immature cerebellum failed to produce dystonia. Abnormal motor symptoms in knockdown animals were associated with irregular cerebellar output caused by changes in the intrinsic activity of both Purkinje cells and neurons of the deep cerebellar nuclei. These data identify the cerebellum as the main site of dysfunction in DYT1, and offer new therapeutic targets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)