Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Down Syndrome (DS) is caused by trisomy of chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and results in a spectrum of phenotypes including learning and memory deficits, and motor dysfunction. It has been hypothesized that an additional copy of a few Hsa21 dosage-sensitive genes causes these phenotypes, but this has been challenged by observations that aneuploidy can cause phenotypes by the mass action of large numbers of genes, with undetectable contributions from individual sequences. The motor abnormalities in DS are relatively understudied-the identity of causative dosage-sensitive genes and the mechanism underpinning the phenotypes are unknown. Using a panel of mouse strains with duplications of regions of mouse chromosomes orthologous to Hsa21 we show that increased dosage of small numbers of genes causes locomotor dysfunction and, moreover, that the Dyrk1a gene is required in three copies to cause the phenotype. Furthermore, we show for the first time a new DS phenotype: loss of motor neurons both in mouse models and, importantly, in humans with DS, that may contribute to locomotor dysfunction.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS Genet




Adult, Aged, Animals, Autopsy, Disease Models, Animal, Down Syndrome, Gene Expression, Humans, Male, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Middle Aged, Motor Activity, Motor Neurons, Nerve Degeneration, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Spinal Cord