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ABSENCE OF THE BASILAR PONS IN MICE LACKING A FUNCTIONAL LARGE GLYCOSYLTRANSFERASE GENE SUGGESTS A DEFECT IN PONTINE NEURON MIGRATION

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Abstract

Several forms of congenital muscular dystrophy result from mutations in glycosyltransferases that modify α-dystroglycan. As pontine hypoplasia has been reported in some clinical cases of congenital muscular dystrophy, we have begun to examine whether these glycosyltransferases are required for the normal development of the basilar pons, one of several precerebellar nuclei of the hindbrain. In veils (Largevls) mice, which carry a loss-of-function mutation in the Large glycosyltransferase gene, the basilar pons is absent. Instead, ectopic clusters of pontine neurons are found lateral to their normal site, suggesting that these neurons are unable to migrate to their appropriate site. Two other precerebellar nuclei, the lateral reticular nucleus and the inferior olive, are present in Largevls mice. In addition, the basilar pons forms normally in dystrophin-deficient mice. These results demonstrate that the Large glycosyltransferase but not dystrophin is required for normal basilar pontine development.

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