Pik3c3 deletion in pyramidal neurons results in loss of synapses, extensive gliosis and progressive neurodegeneration.
Wang L, Budolfson K, Wang F
The lipid kinase PIK3C3 (also known as VPS34) regulates multiple aspects of endo-membrane trafficking processes. PIK3C3 is widely expressed by neurons in the CNS, and its catalytic product PI3P is enriched in dendritic spines. Here we generated a line of conditional mutant mouse in which Pik3c3 is specifically deleted in hippocampal and in small subsets of cortical pyramidal neurons using the CaMKII-Cre transgene. We found that Pik3c3-deficiency initially causes loss of dendritic spines accompanied with reactive gliosis, which is followed by progressive neuronal degeneration over a period of several months. Layers III and IV cortical neurons are more susceptible to Pik3c3-deletion than hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, in aged conditional Pik3c3 mutant animals, there are extensive gliosis and severe secondary loss of wild type neurons. Our analyses show that Pik3c3 is essential for CNS neuronal homeostasis and Pik3c3flox/flox; CaMKII-Cre mouse is a useful model for studying pathological changes in progressive forebrain neurodegeneration.