Ablation of cytoskeletal scaffolding proteins, Band 4.1B and Whirlin, leads to cerebellar purkinje axon pathology and motor dysfunction

Julia Saifetiarova, Manzoor A. Bhat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The cerebellar cortex receives neural information from other brain regions to allow fine motor coordination and motor learning. The primary output neurons from the cerebellum are the Purkinje neurons that transmit inhibitory responses to deep cerebellar nuclei through their myelinated axons. Altered morphological organization and electrical properties of the Purkinje axons lead to detrimental changes in locomotor activity often leading to cerebellar ataxias. Two cytoskeletal scaffolding proteins Band 4.1B (4.1B) and Whirlin (Whrn) have been previously shown to play independent roles in axonal domain organization and maintenance in myelinated axons in the spinal cord and sciatic nerves. Immunoblot analysis had indicated cerebellar expression for both 4.1B and Whrn; however, their subcellular localization and cerebellum-specific functions have not been characterized. Using 4.1B and Whrn single and double mutant animals, we show that both proteins are expressed in common cellular compartments of the cerebellum and play cooperative roles in preservation of the integrity of Purkinje neuron myelinated axons. We demonstrate that both 4.1B and Whrn are required for the maintenance of axonal ultrastructure and health. Loss of 4.1B and Whrn leads to axonal transport defects manifested by formation of swellings containing cytoskeletal components, membranous organelles, and vesicles. Moreover, ablation of both proteins progressively affects cerebellar function with impairment in locomotor performance detected by altered gait parameters. Together, our data indicate that 4.1B and Whrn are required for maintaining proper axonal cytoskeletal organization and axonal domains, which is necessary for cerebellum-controlled fine motor coordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-331
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Band 4.1B
  • Purkinje neurons
  • axonal degeneration
  • cerebellum
  • motor coordination
  • myelinated axons
  • whirlin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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