Mammalian Genome

, Volume 29, Issue 3–4, pp 229–244 | Cite as

Identification and characterization of a novel chemically induced allele at the planar cell polarity gene Vangl2

  • Abdul-Rahman El-Hassan
  • Vicki Leung
  • Fares Kharfallah
  • Marie-Claude Guyot
  • Redouane Allache
  • Philippe Gros
  • Zoha Kibar


Planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling controls a number of morphogenetic processes including convergent extension during gastrulation and neural tube formation. Defects in this pathway cause neural tube defects (NTD), the most common malformations of the central nervous system. The Looptail (Lp) mutant mouse was the first mammalian mutant implicating a PCP gene (Vangl2) in the pathogenesis of NTD. We report on a novel chemically induced mutant allele at Vangl2 called Curly Bob that causes a missense mutation p.Ile268Asn (I268N) in the Vangl2 protein. This mutant segregates in a semi-dominant fashion with heterozygote mice displaying a looped tail appearance, bobbing head, and a circling behavior. Homozygote mutant embryos suffer from a severe form of NTD called craniorachischisis, severe PCP defects in the inner hair cells of the cochlea and posterior cristae, and display a distinct defect in retinal axon guidance. This mutant genetically interacts with the Lp allele (Vangl2 S464N ) in neural tube development and inner ear hair cell polarity. The Vangl2I268N protein variant is expressed at very low levels in affected neural and retinal tissues of mutant homozygote embryos. Biochemical studies show that Vangl2I268N exhibits impaired targeting to the plasma membrane and accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum. The Vangl2I268N variant no longer physically interacts with its PCP partner DVL3 and has a reduced protein half-life. This mutant provides an important model for dissecting the role of Vangl2 in the development of the neural tube, establishment of polarity of sensory cells of the auditory and vestibular systems, and retinal axon guidance.



We would like to acknowledge the Center for Modeling Human Disease at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital for providing the Curly Bob mutants. Confocal image acquisition for this manuscript was performed in and with the assistance of the McGill University Life Sciences Complex Advanced BioImaging Facility (ABIF). ZK is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. PG is supported by grants from the CIHR (MOP-114873).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abdul-Rahman El-Hassan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vicki Leung
    • 3
    • 4
  • Fares Kharfallah
    • 1
    • 5
  • Marie-Claude Guyot
    • 1
  • Redouane Allache
    • 1
  • Philippe Gros
    • 3
    • 4
  • Zoha Kibar
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  1. 1.CHU Sainte-Justine Research CenterMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of NeurosciencesUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  3. 3.Department of Human GeneticsMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  4. 4.McGill University Research Centre on Complex TraitsMontréalCanada
  5. 5.Department of BiochemistryMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  6. 6.Department of Neurosciences, CHU Sainte Justine Research CenterUniversity of MontréalMontréalCanada

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