Giant axon formation in mice lacking Kell, XK, or Kell and XK: animal models of McLeod neuroacanthocytosis syndrome

Xiang Zhu, Eun-Sook Cho, Quan Sha, Jianbin Peng, Yelena Oksov, Siok Yuen Kam, Mengfatt Ho, Ruth H Walker, Soohee Lee
American Journal of Pathology 2014, 184 (3): 800-7
McLeod neuroacanthocytosis syndrome (MLS) is a rare X-linked multisystem disease caused by XK gene mutations and characterized by hematological and neurological abnormalities. XK, a putative membrane transporter, is expressed ubiquitously and is covalently linked to Kell, an endothelin-3-converting enzyme (ECE-3). Absence of XK results in reduction of Kell at sites where both proteins are coexpressed. To elucidate the functional roles of XK, Kell, and the XK-Kell complex associated with pathogenesis in MLS, we studied the pathology of the spinal cord, anterior roots, sciatic nerve, and skeletal muscle from knockout mouse models, using Kel(-/-), Xk(-/-), Kel(-/-)Xk(-/-), and wild-type mice aged 6 to 18 months. A striking finding was that giant axons were frequently associated with paranodal demyelination. The pathology suggests probable anterograde progression from the spinal cord to the sciatic nerve. The neuropathological abnormalities were found in all three genotypes, but were more marked in the double-knockout Kel(-/-)Xk(-/-) mice than in either Kel(-/-) or Xk(-/-) mice. Skeletal muscles from Xk(-/-) and Kel(-/-)Xk(-/-) mice showed mild abnormalities, but those from Kel(-/-) mice were similar to the wild type. The more marked neuropathological abnormalities in Kel(-/-)Xk(-/-) mice suggest a possible functional association between XK and Kell in nonerythroid tissues.

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