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Behav Brain Res. 2000 May;109(2):219-27.

Heregulin, but not ErbB2 or ErbB3, heterozygous mutant mice exhibit hyperactivity in multiple behavioral tasks.

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Department of Neuroscience, Genentech Incorporated, Mail stop # 72, 1 DNA Way, South, San Francisco, CA 94080-4990, USA.


Genetic redundancy is a problem in gene targeting studies because functionally relevant sister proteins can compensate for the lack of protein product of a targeted gene. A molecular system is chosen in which it is hoped to demonstrate both the lack and presence of compensation after disruption of particular single genes. Mammals may not be able to compensate for the lack of heregulin, a single ligand for multiple ErbB receptors, however, compensation is expected when a single ErbB receptor is knocked out. To investigate this the heregulin-1, ErbB2, or ErbB3 locus was disrupted in a targeted manner and mice heterozygous for the mutation were analyzed. Heregulin and its receptors were shown to be involved in embryonic brain development and, more recently, in plastic changes associated with adult brain function in rodents. Although they have never been shown to play roles in mammalian behavior, it was decided to characterize the mice behaviorally using a battery of simple tests. Heregulin mutant mice exhibited elevated activity levels in the open field, showed improved rotorod performance, and finished T-maze spontaneous alternation task faster compared to control wild type littermates, findings that suggest a consistent hyperactivity across tests. ErbB2 and ErbB3 mutant mice, whose strain origin was identical to that of heregulin mutants, showed no sign of the behavioral alterations. It is suggested that the abnormalities seen in heregulin mutant mice are due to mutation at that locus and the lack of alterations seen in ErbB2 and ErbB3 mutant mice is the result of compensation by unaltered sister receptors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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