JOURNAL ARTICLE

The autophagy gene Wdr45/Wipi4 regulates learning and memory function and axonal homeostasis

Yan G Zhao, Le Sun, Guangyan Miao, Cuicui Ji, Hongyu Zhao, Huayu Sun, Lin Miao, Saori R Yoshii, Noboru Mizushima, Xiaoqun Wang, Hong Zhang
Autophagy 2015, 11 (6): 881-90
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WDR45/WIPI4, encoding a WD40 repeat-containing PtdIns(3)P binding protein, is essential for the basal autophagy pathway. Mutations in WDR45 cause the neurodegenerative disease β-propeller protein-associated neurodegeneration (BPAN), a subtype of NBIA. We generated CNS-specific Wdr45 knockout mice, which exhibit poor motor coordination, greatly impaired learning and memory, and extensive axon swelling with numerous axon spheroids. Autophagic flux is defective and SQSTM1 (sequestosome-1)/p62 and ubiquitin-positive protein aggregates accumulate in neurons and swollen axons. Nes-Wdr45(fl/Y) mice recapitulate some hallmarks of BPAN, including cognitive impairment and defective axonal homeostasis, providing a model for revealing the disease pathogenesis of BPAN and also for investigating the possible role of autophagy in axon maintenance.

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