Genes: APP, PSEN1
Mutations: APP K670_M671delinsNL (Swedish), PSEN1: deltaE9
Modification: APP: Transgenic; PSEN1: Transgenic
Disease Relevance: Alzheimer's Disease
Strain Name: PWK.Cg-Tg(APPswe,PSEN1dE9)85Dbo/How
Genetic Background: PWK/PhJ
Availability: Available from The Jackson Laboratory, Stock #25971.
In an effort to mimic the genetic diversity seen in human populations, scientists have crossed popular transgenic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease with mice of various genetic backgrounds (see 28 Dec 2018 news; 21 Jun 2019 news). PWK.APP/PS1 mice are among a set of models created by backcrossing APPswe/PSEN1dE9 mice to three different “wild-derived” strains—inbred strains created in the laboratory from subspecies of house mice caught in the wild less than 50 years ago (Onos et al., 2019). (The other two models, CAST.APP/PS1 and WSB.APP/PS1, are described in detail elsewhere.) The forebears of the PWK strain (Mus mus musculus) were trapped in the Czech Republic. The PWK strain differs from the widely used C57BL6 inbred strain at around 22 million sites in the genome.
For the initial characterization of these mice, a behavioral battery was conducted on animals between 6 and 8 months of age, after which tissue was harvested for neuropathological and transcriptomic analyses.
Levels of the transgenic APPswe and PSEN1dE9 transcripts in brain were similar between the three wild-derived strains and APPswe/PSEN1dE9 on a C57BL6 background (“B6.APP/PS1”). APP protein levels were also similar in female PWK.APP/PS1 and B6.APP/PS1 mice, while PWK.APP/PS1 males contained more APP in their brains than did B6.APP/PS1 males.
Thioflavin S-positive amyloid plaques are present in the cortex and CA1 region of the hippocampus by 8 months of age, with females having more plaques in the cortex than males. Compared with B6.APP/PS1 mice, PWK.APP/PS1 mice have fewer plaques, and particularly lack small plaques. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy was not seen in PWK.APP/PS1 mice.
Plaque-associated microgliosis is present in 8-month-old PWK.APP/PS1 brains.
Neuron loss was not observed in the cortex or CA1, the two regions thus far examined in this line.
Tau pathology, assessed using the phospho-tau antibody AT8, is confined to dystrophic neurites surrounding plaques.
Behavior and cognition
PWK mice are more active than C57BL6 mice, and the APP and PSEN1 transgenes led to increased activity in both genetic backgrounds. PWK.APP/PS1 mice were also quite aggressive, needing to be separated from their non-transgenic littermates by 3 months of age.
Working memory and short-term memory were intact at 6 to 8 months, as assessed by tests in the Y-maze.
RNA-Seq was used to quantify transcripts in the brains of 8-month mice. Background strain, rather than presence of the transgenes, drove most of the differences when transcriptomes were compared between mice from four backgrounds—the three wild-derived strains and C57BL6—with and without APP and PSEN1 transgenes. Weighted Gene Co-expression Analysis identified a module of co-expressed genes that did depend on transgene status; this module included endogenous mouse App and Psen1, and was enriched for genes expressed in microglial and other myeloid cells.
APPswe/PSEN1dE9 mice were made by co-injecting two vectors encoding mutant APP and mutant PSEN1. The APP sequence encodes a chimeric mouse/human APP (Mo/HuAPP695swe) that was “humanized” by modifying three amino acids. In addition, the Swedish mutation was introduced. The PSEN1 sequence encodes human presenilin-1 lacking exon 9 (dE9). Expression of both genes was directed to the CNS with the mouse prion protein promoter. The transgenes inserted at a single locus, Chr9:113003660 (Build GRCm38/mm10), causing a 1 bp duplication that does not affect any known genes (Goodwin et al., 2019). APPswe/PSEN1dE9 mice originally were created on a hybrid C57BL/6 x C3H background; subsequently the transgenes were placed on a congenic C57BL/6J background through backcrossing. The latter line (B6.Cg-Tg(APPswe, PSEN1dE9)85Dbo/Mmjax), referred to here as B6.APP/PS1, is available from The Jackson Laboratory, MMRRC Stock #34832-JAX (formerly JAX Stock #005864).
To produce PWK.APP/PS1 mice (JAX Stock #25971), B6.APP/PS1 were backcrossed with PWK/PhJ (JAX Stock #003715) for at least six generations.
APPswe/PSEN1dE9 (line 85). This is the original APPswe/PSEN1dE9, on a hybrid C57BL/6 x C3H background.
When visualized, these models will distributed over a 18 month timeline demarcated at the following intervals: 1mo, 3mo, 6mo, 9mo, 12mo, 15mo, 18mo+.
- Neuronal Loss
- Cognitive Impairment
- Synaptic Loss
- Changes in LTP/LTD
Thioflavin S-positive amyloid plaques are present in the cortex and CA1 region of the hippocampus by 8 months of age, with females having more plaques in the cortex than males.
Plaque-associated microgliosis observed by 8 months.
Changes in LTP/LTD
Working memory and short-term memory were intact at 7 to 8 months, as assessed by tests in the Y-maze.
Last Updated: 01 Oct 2019
- Missing Ingredient: New Mice Model Alzheimer’s Genetic Variability
- Wild Mice Inject Genetic Diversity into Models of Alzheimer’s Disease
Research Models Citations
- Onos KD, Uyar A, Keezer KJ, Jackson HM, Preuss C, Acklin CJ, O'Rourke R, Buchanan R, Cossette TL, Sukoff Rizzo SJ, Soto I, Carter GW, Howell GR. Enhancing face validity of mouse models of Alzheimer's disease with natural genetic variation. PLoS Genet. 2019 May;15(5):e1008155. Epub 2019 May 31 PubMed.
- Goodwin LO, Splinter E, Davis TL, Urban R, He H, Braun RE, Chesler EJ, Kumar V, van Min M, Ndukum J, Philip VM, Reinholdt LG, Svenson K, White JK, Sasner M, Lutz C, Murray SA. Large-scale discovery of mouse transgenic integration sites reveals frequent structural variation and insertional mutagenesis. Genome Res. 2019 Mar;29(3):494-505. Epub 2019 Jan 18 PubMed.
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