Deletion of Abi3/Gngt2 influences age-progressive amyloid β and tau pathologies in distinctive ways

Kristen R. Ibanez, Karen N. McFarland, Jennifer Phillips, Mariet Allen, Christian B. Lessard, Lillian Zobel, Elsa Gonzalez De La Cruz, Shivani Shah, Quan Vo, Xue Wang, Zachary Quicksall, Daniel Ryu, Cory Funk, Nilüfer Ertekin-Taner, Stefan Prokop, Todd E. Golde, Paramita Chakrabarty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The S209F variant of Abelson Interactor Protein 3 (ABI3) increases risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but little is known about its function in relation to AD pathogenesis. Methods: Here, we use a mouse model that is deficient in Abi3 locus to study how the loss of function of Abi3 impacts two cardinal neuropathological hallmarks of AD—amyloid β plaques and tau pathology. Our study employs extensive neuropathological and transcriptomic characterization using transgenic mouse models and adeno-associated virus-mediated gene targeting strategies. Results: Analysis of bulk RNAseq data confirmed age-progressive increase in Abi3 levels in rodent models of AD-type amyloidosis and upregulation in AD patients relative to healthy controls. Using RNAscope in situ hybridization, we localized the cellular distribution of Abi3 in mouse and human brains, finding that Abi3 is expressed in both microglial and non-microglial cells. Next, we evaluated Abi3−/− mice and document that both Abi3 and its overlapping gene, Gngt2, are disrupted in these mice. Using multiple transcriptomic datasets, we show that expression of Abi3 and Gngt2 are tightly correlated in rodent models of AD and human brains, suggesting a tight co-expression relationship. RNAseq of the Abi3-Gngt2−/− mice revealed upregulation of Trem2, Plcg2, and Tyrobp, concomitant with induction of an AD-associated neurodegenerative signature, even in the absence of AD-typical neuropathology. In APP mice, loss of Abi3-Gngt2 resulted in a gene dose- and age-dependent reduction in Aβ deposition. Additionally, in Abi3-Gngt2−/− mice, expression of a pro-aggregant form of human tau exacerbated tauopathy and astrocytosis. Further, using in vitro culture assays, we show that the AD-associated S209F mutation alters the extent of ABI3 phosphorylation. Conclusions: These data provide an important experimental framework for understanding the role of Abi3-Gngt2 function and early inflammatory gliosis in AD. Our studies also demonstrate that inflammatory gliosis could have opposing effects on amyloid and tau pathology, highlighting the unpredictability of targeting immune pathways in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104
JournalAlzheimer's Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Disease signature
  • Gene dose
  • Neurofibrillary tangle
  • Plaque burden
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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