Polyglutamine (polyQ) diseases are caused by expansion of translated CAG repeats in distinct genes leading to altered protein function. In spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), a gain of function of polyQ-expanded ataxin-1 (ATXN1) contributes to cerebellar pathology. The extent to which cerebellar toxicity depends on its cognate partner capicua (CIC), versus other interactors, remains unclear. It is also not established whether loss of the ATXN1-CIC complex in the cerebellum contributes to disease pathogenesis. In this study, we exclusively disrupt the ATXN1-CIC interaction in vivo and show that it is at the crux of cerebellar toxicity in SCA1. Importantly, loss of CIC in the cerebellum does not cause ataxia or Purkinje cell degeneration. Expression profiling of these gain- and loss-of-function models, coupled with data from iPSC-derived neurons from SCA1 patients, supports a mechanism in which gain of function of the ATXN1-CIC complex is the major driver of toxicity.
The temporal cortex of grey squirrels contains three architectonically distinct regions. One of these regions, the temporal anterior (Ta) region has been identified in previous physiological and anatomical studies as containing several areas that are largely auditory in function. Consistent with this evidence, Ta has architectonic features that are internally somewhat variable, but overall sensory in nature. In contrast, the caudally adjoining temporal intermediate region (Ti) has architectonic features that suggest higher order and possibly multisensory processing. Finally, the most caudal region, composed of previously defined temporal medial (Tm) and temporal posterior (Tp) fields, again has more of the appearance of sensory cortex. To understand their functional roles better, we injected anatomical tracers into these regions to reveal their thalamic connections. As expected, the dorsal portion of Ta, containing two primary or primary-like auditory areas, received inputs from the ventral and magnocellular divisions of the auditory medial geniculate complex (MGv and MGm). The most caudal region, Tm plus Tp, received inputs from the large visual pulvinar of squirrels, possibly accounting for the sensory architectonic characteristics of this region. However, Tp additionally receives inputs from the magnocellular (MGm) and dorsal (MGd) divisions of the medial geniculate complex, implicating Tp in multisensory processing. Finally, the middle region, Ti, had auditory inputs from MGd and MGm, but not from the visual pulvinar, providing evidence that Ti has higher order auditory functions. The results indicate that the architectonically distinct regions of temporal cortex of squirrels are also functionally distinct. Understanding how temporal cortex is functionally organized in squirrels can guide interpretations of temporal cortex organization in other rodents in which architectonic subdivisions are not as obvious.