Research Models


Synonyms: Sorl1 knockout, Sorl1-/-, Lr11-/-, Lr11ΔEx4


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Species: Mouse
Genes: Sorl1
Modification: Sorl1: Knock-Out
Disease Relevance: Alzheimer's Disease
Strain Name: N/A
Genetic Background: Generated on a mixed 129SvEmcTer X C57BL/6N genetic background, subsequently backcrossed to C57BL/6J.
Availability: Available through Thomas Willnow.

In this model of SORLA deficiency, the 5' region of exon 4 of the murine Sorl1 gene was replaced by a neomycin resistance cassette. Although mice homozygous for the disrupted allele do not make full-length SORLA protein (Andersen et al., 2005), an incomplete form of the receptor has been detected at low levels in the brains of these animals (Dodson et al., 2008). Sorl1 mRNA from the disrupted allele is 162 base pairs smaller than wild-type message, and the protein is missing 54 amino acids within the N-terminal region of the VPS10P domain. Levels of the incomplete protein are at least fourfold lower than levels of the full-length protein expressed in wild-type mice. Heterozygous animals generate both full-length and incomplete forms of SORLA.

SORLA-deficient mice are viable and fertile (Andersen et al., 2005). Some physiological abnormalities have been noted in mice homozygous for the disrupted gene, including deficits in salt homeostasis accompanied by lower mean arterial blood pressure (Reiche et al., 2010), and differences in body composition—decreased fat and increased lean body mass—compared with littermate controls (Schmidt et al., 2016). In addition, SORLA-deficient mice were found to have fewer cells in the inner nuclear layer of the retina than wild-type mice (Monti et al., 2020), but it is not known whether this retinal abnormality affects the animals’ vision.


Levels of APP and its metabolites were measured in extracts of cerebral cortices from 10-month-old mice. While APP levels did not differ between SORLA-deficient mice and wild-type controls, levels of sAPP and Aβ were elevated—the amounts of both Aβ40 and Aβ42 were about 30 percent higher in the mice with the disrupted Sorl1 allele (Andersen et al., 2005). Amyloid plaques were not seen in the brains of either genotype.

Subsequently, the levels of mature (glycosylated) APP, measured at 6 months of age, were found to be reduced in the hippocampi of SORLA-deficient mice (Rohe et al., 2008).

When SORLA-deficient mice were crossed with the APPswe/PS1ΔE9 model of amyloidosis, levels of APP metabolites were altered—sAPPα and sAPPβ were elevated, while APP CTFs were decreased—and amyloid deposition was accelerated, compared with the parental APPswe/PS1ΔE9 line (Dodson et al., 2008).

Findings from crosses of SORLA-deficient mice with PDAPP mice, another model of amyloidosis, confirmed that SORLA depletion results in increased APP catabolism: Levels of sAPPα, sAPPβ, and Aβ were significantly elevated in primary hippocampal neurons derived from PDAPP mice lacking SORLA, compared with neurons derived from the parental PDAPP line.  Also, amyloid deposition was accelerated, and levels of detergent-insoluble Aβ were elevated, in the brains of 10-month-old PDAPP;Sorl1-/- mice, compared with littermates heterozygous for the Sorl1 deletion (Rohe et al., 2008).


Compared with wild-type mice, 3- to 4-month-old SORLA-deficient mice exhibited more arm entries and more time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze—behaviors interpreted as evidence of hyperactivity and reduced anxiety—and were insensitive to amphetamine (Glerup et al., 2013). Hyperactivity was also noticed in the open field test.


SORLA-deficient mice exhibited increased neuronal ERK signaling and enhanced adult neurogenesis; these effects of SORLA deficiency were APP-dependent, possibly stimulated by elevated sAPP in the Sorl1 knockout mice (Rohe et al., 2008).

Early data suggest that nigrostriatal connectivity is disrupted in SORLA-deficient mice: Approximately 25 percent fewer dopaminergic neurons project from the substantia nigra to the striatum in the knockout mice compared with wild-type mice, assessed at 10 weeks of age (Glerup et al., 2013).

Modification Details

The 5' region of exon 4 of the murine Sorl1 gene was replaced by a neomycin resistance cassette, through homologous recombination.

Phenotype Characterization

When visualized, these models will distributed over a 18 month timeline demarcated at the following intervals: 1mo, 3mo, 6mo, 9mo, 12mo, 15mo, 18mo+.


  • Plaques

No Data

  • Tangles
  • Neuronal Loss
  • Gliosis
  • Synaptic Loss
  • Changes in LTP/LTD
  • Cognitive Impairment


No amyloid plaques observed up to 10 months of age. When SORLA-deficient mice are crossed with APP transgenic models of amyloidosis, amyloid deposition is accelerated, compared with the parental APP transgenic line.


No data.

Neuronal Loss

Neuron loss was not seen in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental areas, assessed at 5 weeks and 45 weeks. Data on neuron numbers are not available from other brain regions. Nigrostriatal connectivity appears to be disrupted in SORLA-deficient mice.


No data.

Synaptic Loss

No data.

Changes in LTP/LTD

No differences in LTP were observed in hippocampal slices from 10- to 12-month-old Sorl1-/- mice and slices from littermates heterozygous for the Sorl1 deletion (Rohe et al., 2008). It is not known whether LTP in these genotypes differs from that of wild-type mice.

Cognitive Impairment

Compared with wild-type mice, SORLA-deficient mice exhibited more arm entries and more time spent in the open arms of the elevated plus maze—behaviors interpreted as evidence of hyperactivity and reduced anxiety. Hyperactivity was also noticed in the open field test.

Last Updated: 12 Jan 2022


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Research Models Citations

  1. APPswe/PSEN1dE9 (line 85)
  2. PDAPP(line109)

Paper Citations

  1. . Neuronal sorting protein-related receptor sorLA/LR11 regulates processing of the amyloid precursor protein. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Sep 20;102(38):13461-6. PubMed.
  2. . Loss of LR11/SORLA enhances early pathology in a mouse model of amyloidosis: evidence for a proximal role in Alzheimer's disease. J Neurosci. 2008 Nov 26;28(48):12877-86. PubMed.
  3. . SORLA/SORL1 functionally interacts with SPAK to control renal activation of Na(+)-K(+)-Cl(-) cotransporter 2. Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Jun;30(12):3027-37. Epub 2010 Apr 12 PubMed.
  4. . SORLA facilitates insulin receptor signaling in adipocytes and exacerbates obesity. J Clin Invest. 2016 Jul 1;126(7):2706-20. Epub 2016 Jun 20 PubMed.
  5. . SORLA Expression in Synaptic Plexiform Layers of Mouse Retina. Mol Neurobiol. 2020 Jul;57(7):3106-3117. Epub 2020 May 29 PubMed.
  6. . Sortilin-related receptor with A-type repeats (SORLA) affects the amyloid precursor protein-dependent stimulation of ERK signaling and adult neurogenesis. J Biol Chem. 2008 May 23;283(21):14826-34. PubMed.
  7. . SorLA controls neurotrophic activity by sorting of GDNF and its receptors GFRα1 and RET. Cell Rep. 2013 Jan 31;3(1):186-99. Epub 2013 Jan 17 PubMed.

Other Citations

  1. Thomas Willnow

Further Reading


  1. . SORLA is required for insulin-induced expansion of the adipocyte precursor pool in visceral fat. J Cell Biol. 2021 Dec 6;220(12) Epub 2021 Nov 15 PubMed.