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Unique Molecular Features And Cellular Responses Differentiate Two Populations Of Motor Cortical Layer 5b Neurons In A Preclinical Model Of ALS

Maria V. Moya, Rachel D. Kim, Meghana N. Rao, Bianca A. Cotto, Sarah B. Pickett, Caroline E. Sferrazza, Nathaniel Heintz, Eric F. Schmidt

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ABSTRACTMany neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), lead to the selective degeneration of discrete cell types in the CNS despite the ubiquitous expression of many genes linked to disease. Therapeutic advancement depends on understanding unique cellular adaptations that underlie pathology of vulnerable cells in the context of disease-causing mutations. Here, we employ bacTRAP molecular profiling to elucidate cell type specific molecular responses of cortical upper motor neurons in a preclinical ALS model. Using two bacTRAP mouse lines that label distinct vulnerable or resilient projection neuron populations in motor cortex, we show that the regulation of oxidative phosphorylation (Oxphos) pathways is a common response in both cell types. However, differences in the baseline expression of genes involved in Oxphos and the handling of reactive oxygen species likely lead to the selective degeneration of the vulnerable cells. These results provide a framework to identify cell type-specific processes in neurodegenerative disease.