Muscleblind-like 2 knockout shifts adducin 1 isoform expression and alters dendritic spine dynamics of cortical neurons during brain development

Chia Wei Huang, Kuang Yung Lee*, Peng Tzu Lin, Fang Shin Nian, Haw Yuan Cheng, Chien Hui Chang, Cheng Yen Liao, Yen Lin Su, Carol Seah, Ching Li, Yu Fu Chen, Mei Hsuan Lee, Jin Wu Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations


Aims: Muscleblind-like 2 (MBNL2) plays a crucial role in regulating alternative splicing during development and mouse loss of MBNL2 recapitulates brain phenotypes in myotonic dystrophy (DM). However, the mechanisms underlying DM neuropathogenesis during brain development remain unclear. In this study, we aim to investigate the impact of MBNL2 elimination on neuronal development by Mbnl2 conditional knockout (CKO) mouse models. Methods: To create Mbnl2 knockout neurons, cDNA encoding Cre-recombinase was delivered into neural progenitors of Mbnl2flox/flox mouse brains by in utero electroporation. The morphologies and dynamics of dendritic spines were monitored by confocal and two-photon microscopy in brain slices and live animals from the neonatal period into adulthood. To investigate the underlying molecular mechanism, we further detected the changes in the splicing and molecular interactions of proteins associated with spinogenesis. Results: We found that Mbnl2 knockout in cortical neurons decreased dendritic spine density and dynamics in adolescent mice. Mbnl2 ablation caused the adducin 1 (ADD1) isoform to switch from adult to fetal with a frameshift, and the truncated ADD1 failed to interact with alpha-II spectrin (SPTAN1), a critical protein for spinogenesis. In addition, expression of ADD1 adult isoform compensated for the reduced dendritic spine density in cortical neurons deprived of MBNL2. Conclusion: MBNL2 plays a critical role in maintaining the dynamics and homeostasis of dendritic spines in the developing brain. Mis-splicing of downstream ADD1 may account for the alterations and contribute to the DM brain pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12890
Pages (from-to)e12890
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 04 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Neuropathology and Applied Neurobiology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Neuropathological Society.


  • Add1
  • adducin
  • alternative splicing
  • dendritic spine
  • muscleblind-like
  • myotonic dystrophy
  • neural development
  • Protein Isoforms/metabolism
  • Dendritic Spines/metabolism
  • Myotonic Dystrophy/genetics
  • Brain/pathology
  • Animals
  • Mice


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