Faculty Research 1980 - 1989


Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy in the gray tremor mutant mouse.

Document Type


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Animal, Demyelinating-Diseases: fg, pa, tm, Heterozygote, Homozygote, Mice, Mice-Neurologic-Mutants: ah, hi, ph, Phenotype, Pigmentation-Disorders: fg, Slow-Virus-Diseases: tm, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-NON-P-H-S, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Tremor: fg, pa

JAX Source

Proc-Natl-Acad-Sci-USA. 1985 Jan; 82(1):253-7.




Gray tremor (gt) is an autosomal recessive mutation in the mouse linked to caracul (Ca) on chromosome 15. The complex mutant phenotype includes pigmentation defects, tremor, seizures, hypo- and dysmyelination in central and peripheral nervous systems, spongiform encephalopathy, and early death. The heterozygote (+/gt) is phenotypically normal but develops a mild spongiform encephalopathy from 2 months of age onward. The pigmentation and myelination disorders indicate that the gt genetic locus is active neonatally and probably earlier. This report focuses mainly on the later-expressed vacuolating disorder, which most closely mimics in tissue distribution, histopathology, and ultrastructure the spongiform encephalopathies caused by unconventional transmissible agents. This lesion was produced in genetically normal mice in a transmission experiment: of 99 neonatal mice inoculated intracerebrally with gt/gt brain homogenate, all 7 mice of three strains (BALB/cBy, C3HeB/FeJ, and C57BL/6J) allowed to survive for the unusually long interval of 682-721 days after inoculation, developed spongiform changes distributed as in the mutant phenotype. The gray tremor mutant presents a naturally occurring spongiform encephalopathy whose expression is determined by the interaction of genetic factors and a transmissible agent.

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