Recessive ALS2 mutations are linked to three related but slightly different neurodegenerative disorders: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, hereditary spastic paraplegia and primary lateral sclerosis. To investigate the function of the ALS2 encoded protein, we generated Als2 knock-out (KO) mice and zAls2 knock-down zebrafish. The Als2(-/-) mice lacking exon 2 and part of exon 3 developed mild signs of neurodegeneration compatible with axonal transport deficiency. In contrast, zAls2 knock-down zebrafish had severe developmental abnormalities, swimming deficits and motor neuron perturbation. We identified, by RT-PCR, northern and western blotting novel Als2 transcripts in mouse central nervous system. These Als2 transcripts were present in Als2 null mice as well as in wild-type littermates and some rescued the zebrafish phenotype. Thus, we speculate that the newly identified Als2 mRNA species prevent the Als2 KO mice from developing severe neurodegenerative disease and might also regulate the severity of the motor neurons phenotype observed in ALS2 patients.