The primary cilium is a solitary organelle important in cellular signaling, that projects from the cell surface of most growth-arrested or post-mitotic cells including neurons in the central nervous system. We hypothesized that primary cilial dysfunction might play a role in the pathogenesis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and as a first step, report on the prevalence of primary cilial markers on cultured motor neurons from the lumbar spinal cord of embryonic wildtype (WT) and transgenic G93A SOD1 mice, and on motor neurons in situ in the lumbar spinal cord.
At 7 days in culture there is no difference in the proportion of G93A SOD1 and WT motor neurons staining for the cilial marker ACIII. However, at 21 days there is a large relative drop in the proportion of ciliated G93A SOD1 motor neurons. In situ, at 40 days there was a slight relative drop in the proportion of ciliated motor neurons in G93A SOD1 mice. At 98 days of age there was no change in motor neuron ciliation in WT mice, but there was motor neuron loss and a large reduction in the proportion of surviving motor neurons bearing a primary cilium in G93A SOD1 mice.
In primary culture and in situ in G93A SOD1 mice there is a large reduction in the proportion of motor neurons bearing a primary cilium.