Staufen2 deficiency leads to impaired response to novelty in mice

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Abstract

Staufen2 (Stau2) is a double-stranded RNA-binding protein (RBP) involved in posttranscriptional gene expression control in neurons. In flies, staufen contributes to learning and long-term memory formation. To study the impact of mammalian Stau2 on behavior, we generated a novel gene-trap mouse model that yields significant constitutive downregulation of Stau2 (Stau2GT). In order to investigate the effect of Stau2 downregulation on hippocampus-dependent behavior, we performed a battery of behavioral assays, i.e. open field, novel object recognition/location (NOR/L) and Barnes maze. Stau2GT mice displayed reduced locomotor activity in the open field and altered novelty preference in the NOR and NOL paradigms. Adult Stau2GT male mice failed to discriminate between familiar and newly introduced objects but showed enhanced spatial novelty detection. Additionally, we observed deficits in discriminating different spatial contexts in a Barnes maze assay. Together, our data suggest that Stau2 contributes to novelty preference and explorative behavior that is a driver for proper spatial learning in mice.

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