Project TitleNovel Tools for Studying Corticospinal and Spinal Motor Neurons in vivo
Track Code2012-053
Short Description

Novel tools (development of a mouse model and cell lines) to genetically label corticospinal and spinal motor neurons in vivo and generate pure neuronal cell lines


Visualization and isolation of motor neurons at different stages of motor neuron disorders is very important for drug discovery efforts and understanding cellular mechanisms for their selective vulnerability. It is critically important to study these neuron populations within the context of their naïve environment in vivo, and to isolate these neuron populations as a pure neuron population to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms for their selective vulnerability.
Northwestern researchers have developed a novel mice model that, for the first time, allows visualization of both cortical and spinal motor neurons in vivo. Motor neurons can be purified by fluorescence-based purification methods (e.g. FACS) and neuron subtype-specific purification will 1) form the basis of pure motor neuron cultures for drug discovery efforts; 2) reveal cellular and molecular differences between upper and lower motor neurons and this information can be important for directed differentiation of motor neurons; 3) identify the molecular factors that initiate neuron vulnerability in diseases.
In addition, other mouse models can now be generated to study motor neuron health in various other diseases. More specifically, Northwestern researchers have successfully crossed this reporter line with the SOD mice model for ALS, being able to follow neurodegenerative process in vivo.

TagsRESEARCH TOOL: cell line, research tool: animal model, research tool: reagent
Posted DateDec 12, 2012 4:58 PM


Pembe Hande Ozlinder


• In vivo visualization of motor neurons
• Isolation of pure motor neuron populations from complex and heterogeneous structures of cerebral cortex and spinal cord
• Reporter line for motor neuron disease model generation

• Identification of small molecules/drugs, which mediate motor neuron survival


• Corticospinal and spinal motor neurons can be visualized and studied in the same mouse model
• This reporter line could be used to generate disease models to study motor neuron degeneration

• Pure motor neuron cultures can be established and compounds efficacy can be tested

Contact Information

Mike Moore, PhD
Invention Manager

(p) 847-491-4645