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J Neurosci. 2002 May 1;22(9):3730-8.

Congenic mapping of alcohol and pentobarbital withdrawal liability loci to a <1 centimorgan interval of murine chromosome 4: identification of Mpdz as a candidate gene.

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Portland Alcohol Research Center and Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA.


Risk for onset of alcoholism is related to genetic differences in acute alcohol withdrawal liability. We previously mapped a locus responsible for 26% of the genetic variance in acute alcohol withdrawal convulsion liability to a >35 centimorgan (cM) interval of murine chromosome 4. Here, we narrow the position of this locus to a <1 cM interval (approximately 1.8 megabase, containing 15 genes and/or predicted genes) using a combination of novel, interval-specific congenic strains and recombinant progeny testing. We report the development of a small-donor-segment congenic strain, which confirms capture of a gene affecting alcohol withdrawal within the <1 cM interval. We also confirm a pentobarbital withdrawal locus within this interval, suggesting that the same gene may influence predisposition to physiological dependence on alcohol and a barbiturate. This congenic strain will be invaluable for determining whether this interval also harbors a gene(s) underlying other quantitative trait loci mapped to chromosome 4, including loci affecting voluntary alcohol consumption, alcohol-induced ataxia, physical dependence after chronic alcohol exposure, and seizure response to pentylenetetrazol or an audiogenic stimulus. To date, Mpdz, which encodes the multiple PSD95/DLG/ZO-1 (PDZ) domain protein (MPDZ), is the only gene within the interval shown to have allelic variants that differ in coding sequence and/or expression. Sequence analysis of 15 standard inbred mouse strains identifies six Mpdz haplotypes that predict three MPDZ protein variants. These analyses, and evidence using interval-specific congenic lines, show that alcohol withdrawal severity is genetically correlated with MPDZ status, indicating that MPDZ variants may influence alcohol withdrawal liability.

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