Cell Death Discovery (Feb 2022)
Kidins220/ARMS modulates brain morphology and anxiety-like traits in adult mice
Abstract Kinase D interacting substrate of 220 kDa (Kidins220), also known as ankyrin repeat-rich membrane spanning (ARMS), is a transmembrane scaffold protein that participates in fundamental aspects of neuronal physiology including cell survival, differentiation, and synaptic plasticity. The Kidins220 constitutive knockout line displays developmental defects in the nervous and cardiovascular systems that lead to embryonic lethality, which has so far precluded the study of this protein in the adult. Moreover, Kidins220 mRNA is tightly regulated by alternative splicing, whose impact on nervous system physiology has not yet been addressed in vivo. Here, we have asked to what extent the absence of Kidins220 splicing and the selective knockout of Kidins220 impact on adult brain homeostasis. To answer this question, we used a floxed line that expresses only the full-length, non-spliced Kidins220 mRNA, and a forebrain-specific, CaMKII-Cre driven Kidins220 conditional knockout (cKO) line. Kidins220 cKO brains are characterized by enlarged ventricles in the absence of cell death, and by deficient dendritic arborization in several cortical regions. The deletion of Kidins220 leads to behavioral changes, such as reduced anxiety-like traits linked to alterations in TrkB-BDNF signaling and sex-dependent alterations of hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. Kidins220 floxed mice present similarly enlarged brain ventricles and increased associative memory. Thus, both the absolute levels of Kidins220 expression and its splicing pattern are required for the correct brain development and related expression of behavioral phenotypes. These findings are relevant in light of the increasing evidence linking mutations in the human KIDINS220 gene to the onset of severe neurodevelopmental disorders.