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Mouse neurexin-1alpha deletion causes correlated electrophysiological and behavioral changes consistent with cognitive impairments.

Deletions in the neurexin-1alpha gene were identified in large-scale unbiased screens for copy-number variations in patients with autism or schizophrenia. To explore the underlying biology, we studied the electrophysiological and behavioral phenotype of mice lacking neurexin-1alpha. Hippocampal slice physiology uncovered a defect in excitatory synaptic strength in neurexin-1alpha deficient mice, as revealed by a decrease in miniature excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC) frequency and in the input-output relation of evoked postsynaptic potentials. This defect was specific for excitatory synaptic transmission, because no change in inhibitory synaptic transmission was observed in the hippocampus. Behavioral studies revealed that, compared with littermate control mice, neurexin-1alpha deficient mice displayed a decrease in prepulse inhibition, an increase in grooming behaviors, an impairment in nest-building activity, and an improvement in motor learning. However, neurexin-1alpha deficient mice did not exhibit any obvious changes in social behaviors or in spatial learning. Together, these data indicate that the neurexin-1alpha deficiency induces a discrete neural phenotype whose extent correlates, at least in part, with impairments observed in human patients.

Pubmed ID: 19822762

Authors

  • Etherton MR
  • Blaiss CA
  • Powell CM
  • S├╝dhof TC

Journal

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

October 20, 2009

Associated Grants

  • Agency: Autism Speaks, Id: AS2126
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: K08 MH065975
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH081164
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R01 MH081164
  • Agency: NIMH NIH HHS, Id: R37 MH52804-08
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Female
  • Gene Deletion
  • Grooming
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Motor Activity
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Phenotype
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social Behavior
  • Spatial Behavior