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Title: Hypothalamic expression of Peg3 gene is associated with maternal care differences between SM/J and LG/J mouse strains
Authors: Chiavegatto, Silvana
Sauce, Bruno
Ambar, Guilherme
Cheverud, James M.
Peripato, Andrea Cristina [UNIFESP]
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Natl Inst Dev Psychiat Childhood & Adolescence IN
Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCar)
Washington Univ
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
Keywords: Chromosome
gene expression
gene variation
maternal behavior
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2012
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Citation: Brain and Behavior. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons Inc, v. 2, n. 4, p. 365-376, 2012.
Abstract: Maternal care is essential in mammals, and variations in the environment provided by mothers may directly influence the viability of newborns and emotional behavior later in life. A previous study investigated genetic variations associated with maternal care in an intercross of LG/J and SM/J inbred mouse strains and identified two single-locus QTLs (quantitative trait loci). Here, we selected three candidate genes located within these QTLs intervals; Oxt on chromosome 2, and FosB and Peg3 on chromosome 7 and tested their association with maternal care. LG/J females showed impaired postpartum nest building and pup retrieval, a one-day delay in milk ejection, reduced exploratory activity, and higher anxiety-like behavior when compared to SM/J females. the nucleotide sequences of Oxt and FosB were similar between strains, as were their hypothalamic expression levels. Conversely, Peg3 nucleotide sequences showed four nonsynonymous replacement substitutions on LG/J dams, T11062G, G13744A, A13808G, and G13813A, and a 30 base pair (10 aa) in tandem repeat in the coding region with three copies in SM/J and five copies in LG/J. Maternal care impaired LG/J mothers express 37% lower Peg3 mRNA levels in the hypothalamus on the second postpartum day. We also found an association of the Peg3 repeat-variant and poor maternal care in F-2 heterozygote females derived from a LG/J x SM/J intercross. These results may suggest that the maternally imprinted Peg3 gene is responsible for the single-locus QTL on chromosome 7 that has been shown to influence maternal care in these strains. Furthermore, these data provide additional support for an epigenetic regulation of maternal behavior.
ISSN: 2162-3279
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