Research Papers:

Hyperactivation of Alk induces neonatal lethality in knock-in AlkF1178L mice

Lucille Lopez-Delisle, Cécile Pierre-Eugène, Evelyne Bloch-Gallego, Marie-Christine Birling, Jean-Loup Duband, Estelle Durand, Thomas Bourgeois, Boris Matrot, Tania Sorg, Michel Huerre, Hamid Meziane, Michel J. Roux, Marie-France Champy, Jorge Gallego, Olivier Delattre and Isabelle Janoueix-Lerosey _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:2703-2713. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1882

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Lucille Lopez-Delisle1,2, Cécile Pierre-Eugène1,2, Evelyne Bloch-Gallego3,4, Marie-Christine Birling5, Jean-Loup Duband6,7, Estelle Durand8, Thomas Bourgeois8, Boris Matrot8,9, Tania Sorg5, Michel Huerre10, Hamid Meziane5, Michel J. Roux5, Marie-France Champy5, Jorge Gallego9, Olivier Delattre1,2, Isabelle Janoueix-Lerosey1,2

1 Inserm U830, Paris, France;

2 Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, Paris, France;

3 Institut Cochin, Université Paris Descartes, CNRS (UMR 8104), Paris, France;

4 Inserm, U1016, Paris, France;

5 Institut Clinique de la Souris, Illkirch-Graffenstaden, France;

6 Sorbonne Universités, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France;

7 CNRS, Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement, Paris, France;

8 PhenoPups SAS, Evry, France;

9 Inserm U1141, Hopital Robert Debré, Paris, France;

10 Institut Curie, Département de Pathologie, Paris, France.


Isabelle Janoueix-Lerosey, email:

Keywords: ALK, brainstem, neonatal lethality, plethysmography, feeding difficulties

Received: March 24, 2014 Accepted: April 01, 2014 Published: April 02, 2014


The ALK (Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase) gene encodes a tyrosine kinase receptor preferentially expressed in the central and peripheral nervous systems. A syndromic presentation associating congenital neuroblastoma with severe encephalopathy and an abnormal shape of the brainstem has been described in patients harbouring de novo germline F1174V and F1245V ALK mutations. Here, we investigated the phenotype of knock-in (KI) mice bearing the AlkF1178L mutation (F1174L in human). Although heterozygous KI mice did not reproduce the severe breathing and feeding difficulties observed in human patients, behavioral tests documented a reduced activity during dark phases and an increased anxiety of mutated mice. Matings of heterozygotes yielded the expected proportions of wild-type, heterozygotes and homozygotes at birth but a high neonatal lethality was noticed for homozygotes. We documented Alk expression in several motor nuclei of the brainstem involved in the control of sucking and swallowing. Evaluation of basic physiological functions 12 hours after birth revealed slightly more apneas but a dramatic reduced milk intake for homozygotes compared to control littermates. Overall, our data demonstrate that Alk activation above a critical threshold is not compatible with survival in mice, in agreement with the extremely severe phenotype of patients carrying aggressive de novo ALK germline mutations.

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