Neural cell adhesion molecule Negr1 deficiency in mouse results in structural brain endophenotypes and behavioral deviations related to psychiatric disorders
AuthorSingh, Katyayani; Jayaram, Mohan; Kaare, Maria; Leidmaa, Este; Jagomäe, Toomas; Heinla, Indrek; Hickey, Miriam A.; Kaasik, Allen; Schäfer, Michael K.; Innos, Jürgen; Lilleväli, Kersti; Philips, Mari-Anne; Vasar, Eero
Neuronal growth regulator 1 (NEGR1) belongs to the immunoglobulin (IgLON) superfamily of cell adhesion molecules involved in cortical layering. Recent functional and genomic studies implicate the role of NEGR1 in a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders, such as major depression, schizophrenia and autism. Here, we investigated the impact of Negr1 deficiency on brain morphology, neuronal properties and social behavior of mice. In situ hybridization shows Negr1 expression in the brain nuclei which are central modulators of cortical-subcortical connectivity such as the island of Calleja and the reticular nucleus of thalamus. Brain morphological analysis revealed neuroanatomical abnormalities in Negr1−/− mice, including enlargement of ventricles and decrease in the volume of the whole brain, corpus callosum, globus pallidus and hippocampus. Furthermore, decreased number of parvalbumin-positive inhibitory interneurons was evident in Negr1−/− hippocampi. Behaviorally, Negr1−/− mice displayed hyperactivity in social interactions and impairments in social hierarchy. Finally, Negr1 deficiency resulted in disrupted neurite sprouting during neuritogenesis. Our results provide evidence that NEGR1 is required for balancing the ratio of excitatory/inhibitory neurons and proper formation of brain structures, which is prerequisite for adaptive behavioral profiles. Therefore, Negr1−/− mice have a high potential to provide new insights into the neural mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disorders.