The complexity of the genetics underlying schizophrenia is highlighted by the multitude of molecular pathways that have been reported to be disrupted in the disorder including muscarinic, serotonergic, and glutamatergic signaling systems. It is of interest, therefore, that phospholipase C-β1 (PLC-β1) acts as a point of convergence for these pathways during cortical development and plasticity. These signaling pathways, furthermore, are susceptible to modulation by RGS4, one of the more promising candidate genes for schizophrenia. PLC-β1 knockout mice were behaviorally assessed on tests including fear conditioning, elevated plus maze, and the Y maze. In situ hybridization was used to assess RGS4 expression. We found that PLC-β1 knockout mice display abnormal anxiety profiles on some, but not all measures assessed, including decreased anxiety on the elevated plus maze. We also show memory impairment and a complete absence of acquisition of hippocampal-dependent fear conditioning. Furthermore, at a molecular level, we demonstrate dramatic changes in expression of RGS4 mRNA in selective regions of the PLC-β1 knockout mouse brain, particularly the CA1 region of the hippocampus. These results validate the utility of the PLC-β1 knockout mouse as a model of schizophrenia, including molecular and cellular evidence for disrupted cortical maturation and associated behavioral endophenotypes.
- Phospholipase C-β1
- Regulator of G protein signaling 4