The enzyme ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) is one of the most abundant proteins in the mammalian nervous system. In humans, UCH-L1 is also found in the ubiquitinated inclusion bodies that characterize neurodegenerative diseases in the brain, suggesting its involvement in neurodegeneration. The physiologic role of UCH-L1 in neurons, however, remains to be further elucidated. For example, previous studies have provided evidence both for and against the role of UCH-L1 in synaptic function in the brain. Here,we have characterized a line of knockout mice deficient in the UCH-L1 gene. We found that, in the absence of UCH-L1, synaptic transmission at the neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) is markedly impaired. Both spontaneous and evoked synaptic activity are reduced; paired pulse-facilitation is impaired, and synaptic transmission fails to respond to high-frequency, repetitive stimulation at the NMJs of UCH-L1 knockout mice. Morphologic analyses of the NMJs further revealed profound structural defects-loss of synaptic vesicles and accumulation of tubulovesicular structures at the presynaptic nerve terminals, and denervation of themuscles in UCH-L1 knockoutmice. These findings demonstrate that UCH-L1 is required for the maintenance of the structure and function of the NMJ and that the loss of normal UCH-L1 activity may result in neurodegeneration in the peripheral nervous system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jan 26 2010|
- Knockout mice
- Synaptic transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas