A mouse forward genetics screen identifies LISTERIN as an E3 ubiquitin ligase involved in neurodegeneration

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Feb 17;106(7):2097-103. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812819106. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


A mouse neurological mutant, lister, was identified through a genome-wide N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis screen. Homozygous lister mice exhibit profound early-onset and progressive neurological and motor dysfunction. lister encodes a RING finger protein, LISTERIN, which functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase in vitro. Although lister is widely expressed in all tissues, motor and sensory neurons and neuronal processes in the brainstem and spinal cord are primarily affected in the mutant. Pathological signs include gliosis, dystrophic neurites, vacuolated mitochondria, and accumulation of soluble hyperphosphorylated tau. Analysis with a different lister allele generated through targeted gene trap insertion reveals LISTERIN is required for embryonic development and confirms that direct perturbation of a LISTERIN-regulated process causes neurodegeneration. The lister mouse uncovers a pathway involved in neurodegeneration and may serves as a model for understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying human neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Axons
  • Genotype
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutagenesis
  • Mutation*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / physiology


  • Ltn1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases