Mutations in the MATR3 gene encoding the nucleotide binding protein Matrin 3 have recently been identified as causing a subset of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (fALS) and more rarely causing distal myopathy. Translating the identification of MATR3 mutations into an understanding of disease pathogenesis and the creation of mouse models requires a complete understanding of normal Matrin 3 levels and distribution in vivo. Consequently, we examined the levels of murine Matrin 3 in body tissues and regions of the central nervous system (CNS). We observed a significant degree of variability in Matrin 3 protein levels among different tissues of adult animals, with the highest levels found in reproductive organs and the lowest in muscle. Within the adult CNS, Matrin 3 levels were lowest in spinal cord. Further, we found that Matrin 3 declines significantly in CNS through early development and young adulthood before stabilizing. As previously reported, antibodies to Matrin 3 primarily stain nuclei, but the intensity of staining was not uniform in all nuclei. The low levels of Matrin 3 in spinal cord and muscle could mean that that these tissues are particularly vulnerable to alterations in Matrin 3 function. Our study is the first to characterize endogenous Matrin 3 in rodents across the lifespan, providing the groundwork for deciphering disease mechanisms and developing mouse models of MATR3-linked ALS. J. Comp. Neurol. 524:2740–2752, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Our study is the first to characterize the endogenous expression of the ALS-associated gene MATR3 in murine central nervous system. Using immunohistochemistry, we provide evidence for the nuclear localization of Matrin 3 and the heterogeneous expression of the protein in varying brain regions and spinal cord of an adult mouse.