Background: Mutations in eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2B (eIF2B) cause Childhood Ataxia with CNS Hypomyelination (CACH), also known as Vanishing White Matter disease (VWM), which is associated with a clinical pathology of brain myelin loss upon physiological stress. eIF2B is the guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) of eIF2, which delivers the initiator tRNA Met to the ribosome. We recently reported that a R132H mutation in the catalytic subunit of this GEF, causing a 20% reduction in its activity, leads under normal conditions to delayed brain development in a mouse model for CACH/VWM. To further explore the effect of the mutation on global gene expression in the brain, we conducted a wide-scale transcriptome analysis of the first three critical postnatal weeks. Methodology/Principal Findings: Genome-wide mRNA expression of wild-type and mutant mice was profiled at postnatal (P) days 1, 18 and 21 to reflect the early proliferative stage prior to white matter establishment (P1) and the peak of oligodendrocye differentiation and myelin synthesis (P18 and P21). At each developmental stage, between 441 and 818 genes were differentially expressed in the mutant brain with minimal overlap, generating unique time point-specific gene expression signatures. Conclusions: The current study demonstrates that a point mutation in eIF2B, a key translation initiation factor, has a massive effect on global gene expression in the brain. The overall changes in expression patterns reflect multiple layers of indirect effects that accumulate as the brain develops and matures. The differentially expressed genes seem to reflect delayed waves of gene expression as well as an adaptation process to cope with hypersensitivity to cellular stress.
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