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Mol Psychiatry. 2005 Apr;10(4):393-406.

Reduced expression of the Sp4 gene in mice causes deficits in sensorimotor gating and memory associated with hippocampal vacuolization.

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Department of Medicine, Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


HF-1B/SP4:, a member of the Sp1 family of transcription factors, is expressed restrictively in the developing nervous system and most abundantly in adult hippocampus in mice. Here, we report the generation of hypomorphic Sp4 allele mice, in which the Sp4 deficiency can be rescued by the expression of Cre recombinase. Vacuolization was detected in the hippocampal gray matter of the mutant Sp4-deficient mice. Expression analysis of Sp4 mutant hippocampi revealed an age-dependent decrease in neurotrophin-3 expression in the dentate granule cells. Hypomorphic Sp4 mutant mice displayed robust deficits in both sensorimotor gating and contextual memory. The restoration of Sp4 expression, via a Cre-dependent rescue strategy, completely rescued all the observed molecular, histological and behavioral abnormalities. Our studies thus reveal a novel Sp4 pathway that is essential for hippocampal integrity and modulates behavioral processes relevant to psychiatric disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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