Phenotypic profiling of mGlu7 knockout mice reveals new implications for neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are characterized by deficits in communication, cognition, attention, social behavior and/or motor control. Previous studies have pointed to the involvement of genes that regulate synaptic structure and function in the pathogenesis of these disorders. One such gene, GRM7, encodes the metabotropic glutamate receptor 7 (mGlu7 ), a G protein-coupled receptor that regulates pre-synaptic neurotransmitter release. Mutations and polymorphisms in GRM7 have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders in clinical populations; however, limited pre-clinical studies have evaluated mGlu7 in the context of this specific disease class. Here, we demonstrate that the absence of mGlu7 in mice is sufficient to alter phenotypes within the domains of social behavior, associative learning, motor function, epilepsy and sleep. Moreover, Grm7 knockout mice exhibit an attenuated response to amphetamine. These findings provide rationale for further investigation of mGlu7 as a potential therapeutic target for neurodevelopmental disorders such as idiopathic autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and Rett syndrome.

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