Pcdh19 loss-of-function increases neuronal migration in vitro but is dispensable for brain development in mice Academic Article uri icon


  • Protocadherin 19 (Pcdh19) is an X-linked gene belonging to the protocadherin superfamily, whose members are predominantly expressed in the central nervous system and have been implicated in cell-cell adhesion, axon guidance and dendrite self-avoidance. Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in humans result in the childhood epilepsy disorder PCDH19 Girls Clustering Epilepsy (PCDH19 GCE) indicating that PCDH19 is required for brain development. However, understanding PCDH19 function in vivo has proven challenging and has not been studied in mammalian models. Here, we validate a murine Pcdh19 null allele in which a β-Geo reporter cassette is expressed under the control of the endogenous promoter. Analysis of β-Geo reporter activity revealed widespread but restricted expression of PCDH19 in embryonic, postnatal and adult brains. No gross morphological defects were identified in Pcdh19(+/β-Geo) and Pcdh19(Y/β-Geo) brains and the location of Pcdh19 null cells was normal. However, in vitro migration assays revealed that the motility of Pcdh19 null neurons was significantly elevated, potentially contributing to pathogenesis in patients with PCDH19 mutations. Overall our initial characterization of Pcdh19(+/β-Geo), Pcdh19(β-Geo/β-Geo) and Pcdh19(Y/β-Geo)mice reveals that despite widespread expression of Pcdh19 in the CNS, and its role in human epilepsy, its function in mice is not essential for brain development.


  • Pederick, DT
  • Homan, CC
  • Jaehne, EJ
  • Piltz, SG
  • Haines, BP
  • Baune, BT
  • Jolly, LA
  • Hughes, JN
  • Gecz, J
  • Thomas, PQ

publication date

  • 2016