X-linked Angelman-like syndrome caused by Slc9a6 knockout in mice exhibits evidence of endosomal-lysosomal dysfunction

Petter Strømme, Kostantin Dobrenis, Roy V. Sillitoe, Maria Gulinello, Nafeeza F. Ali, Cristin Davidson, Matthew C. Micsenyi, Gloria Stephney, Linda Ellevog, Arne Klungland, Steven U. Walkley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Mutations in solute carrier family 9 isoform 6 on chromosome Xq26.3 encoding sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6, a protein mainly expressed in early and recycling endosomes are known to cause a complex and slowly progressive degenerative human neurological disease. Three resulting phenotypes have so far been reported: an X-linked Angelman syndrome-like condition, Christianson syndrome and corticobasal degeneration with tau deposition, with each characterized by severe intellectual disability, epilepsy, autistic behaviour and ataxia. Hypothesizing that a sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6 deficiency would most likely disrupt the endosomal-lysosomal system of neurons, we examined Slc9a6 knockout mice with tissue staining and related techniques commonly used to study lysosomal storage disorders. As a result, we found that sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6 depletion leads to abnormal accumulation of GM2 ganglioside and unesterified cholesterol within late endosomes and lysosomes of neurons in selective brain regions, most notably the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala, the CA3 and CA4 regions and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and some areas of cerebral cortex. In these select neuronal populations, histochemical staining for β-hexosaminidase activity, a lysosomal enzyme involved in the degradation of GM2 ganglioside, was undetectable. Neuroaxonal dystrophy similar to that observed in lysosomal disease was observed in the cerebellum and was accompanied by a marked and progressive loss of Purkinje cells, particularly in those lacking the expression of Zebrin II. On behavioural testing, Slc9a6 knockout mice displayed a discrete clinical phenotype attributable to motor hyperactivity and cerebellar dysfunction. Importantly, these findings show that sodium-hydrogen exchanger 6 loss of function in the Slc9a6-targeted mouse model leads to compromise of endosomal-lysosomal function similar to lysosomal disease and to conspicuous neuronal abnormalities in specific brain regions, which in concert could provide a unified explanation for the cellular and clinical phenotypes in humans with SLC9A6 mutations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3369-3383
Number of pages15
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Angelman syndrome
  • amygdala
  • endosome
  • ganglioside
  • lysosomal storage disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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