translation initiation factor 2B is a major housekeeping complex that governs the rate of global protein synthesis under normal and stress conditions. Mutations in any of its five subunits lead to leucoencephalopathy with vanishing white matter, an inherited chronic-progressive fatal brain disease with unknown aetiology, which is among the most prevalent childhood white matter disorders. We generated the first animal model for the disease by introducing a point mutation into thec vmouse Eif2b5 gene locus, leading to R132H replacement corresponding to the clinically significant human R136H mutation in the catalytic subunit. In contrast to human patients, mice homozygous for the mutant Eif2b5 allele (Eif2b5R132H/R132H mice) enable multiple analyses under a defined genetic background during the pre-symptomatic stages and during recovery from a defined brain insult. Time-course magnetic resonance imaging revealed for the first time the delayed development of the brain white matter due to the mutation. Electron microscopy demonstrated a higher proportion of small-calibre nerve fibres. Immunohistochemistry detected an abnormal abundance of oligodendrocytes and astrocytes in the brain of younger animals, as well as an abnormal level of major myelin proteins. Most importantly, mutant mice failed to recover from cuprizone-induced demyelination, reflecting an increased sensitivity to brain insults. The anomalous development of white matter in Eif2b5R132H/R132H mice underscores the importance of tight translational control to normal myelin formation and maintenance.
- Mouse model