Phosphatidylserine increases IKBKAP levels in a humanized knock-in IKBKAP mouse model

Ron Bochner, Yael Ziv, David Zeevi, Maya Donyo, Lital Abraham, Ruth Ashery-Padan, Gil Ast*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Familial dysautonomia (FD) is a severe neurodegenerative genetic disorder restricted to the Ashkenazi Jewish population. The most common mutation in FD patients is a T-to-C transition at position 6 of intron 20 of the IKBKAP gene. This mutation causes aberrant skipping of exon 20 in a tissue-specific manner, leading to reduction of the IkB kinase complex-associated protein (IKAP) protein in the nervous system. We established a homozygous humanized mouse strain carrying human exon 20 and its two flanking introns; the 3' intron has the transition observed in the IKBKAP gene of FD patients. Although our FD humanized mouse does not display FD symptoms, the unique, tissue-specific splicing pattern of the IKBKAP in these mice allowed us to evaluate the effect of therapies on gene expression and exon 20 splicing. The FD mice were supplemented with phosphatidylserine (PS), a safe food supplement that increases mRNA and protein levels of IKBKAP in cell lines generated from FD patients. Here we demonstrated that PS treatment increases IKBAKP mRNA and IKAP protein levels in various tissues of FD mice without affecting exon 20 inclusion levels. We also observed that genes associated with transcription regulation and developmental processes were up-regulated in the cerebrum of PS-treated mice. Thus, PS holds promise for the treatment of FD.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberddt126
Pages (from-to)2785-2794
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Molecular Genetics
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2013


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