Most human neurodegenerative diseases are sporadic, and appear later in life. While the underlying mechanisms of the progression of those diseases are still unclear, investigations into the familial forms of comparable diseases suggest that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is involved in the pathogenesis. Binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP) is an ER chaperone that is central to ER function. We produced knock-in mice expressing a mutant BiP that lacked the retrieval sequence in order to evaluate the effect of a functional defect in an ER chaperone in multi-cellular organisms. Here we report that heterozygous mutant BiP mice revealed motor disabilities in aging. We found a degeneration of some motoneurons in the spinal cord accompanied by accumulations of ubiquitinated proteins. The defect in retrieval of BiP by the KDEL receptor leads to impaired activities in quality control and autophagy, suggesting that functional defects in the ER chaperones may contribute to the late onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
Jin, H., Mimura, N., Kashio, M., Koseki, H., & Aoe, T. (2014). Late-onset of spinal neurodegeneration in knock-in mice expressing a mutant BIP. PLoS ONE, 9(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112837