Epilepsy, deafness, onychodystrophy, osteodystrophy and intellectual disability are associated with a spectrum of mutations of human TBC1D24. The mechanisms underlying TBC1D24-associated disorders and the functions of TBC1D24 are not well understood. Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, we engineered a mouse with a premature translation stop codon equivalent to human S324Tfs*3, a recessive mutation of TBC1D24 associated with early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE). Homozygous S324Tfs*3 mice have normal auditory and vestibular functions but show an abrupt onset of spontaneous seizures at postnatal day 15 recapitulating human EIEE. The S324Tfs*3 variant is located in an alternatively spliced micro-exon encoding six perfectly conserved amino acids incorporated postnatally into TBC1D24 protein due to a micro-exon utilization switch. During embryonic and early postnatal development, S324Tfs*3 homozygotes produce predominantly the shorter wild-type TBC1D24 protein isoform that omits the micro-exon. S324Tfs*3 homozygotes show an abrupt onset of seizures at P15 that correlates with a developmental switch to utilization of the micro-exon. A mouse deficient for alternative splice factor SRRM3 impairs incorporation of the Tbc1d24 micro-exon. Wild-type Tbc1d24 mRNA is abundantly expressed in the hippocampus using RNAscope in situ hybridization. Immunogold electron microscopy using a TBC1D24-specific antibody revealed that TBC1D24 is associated with clathrin-coated vesicles and synapses of hippocampal neurons, suggesting a crucial role of TBC1D24 in vesicle trafficking important for neuronal signal transmission. This is the first characterization of a mouse model of human TBC1D24-associated EIEE that can now be used to screen for antiepileptogenic drugs ameliorating TBCID24 seizure disorders.
Published by Oxford University Press 2019.