Behavioural characterization of AnkyrinG deficient mice, a model forANK3related disorders
ANK3 encodes AnkyrinG (AnkG), a member of the Ankyrin family that is expressed in several different isoforms in many tissues. A unique serine-rich domain and tail domain in the two largest isoforms of AnkG (270 and 480 kDa), restrict AnkG to the axon initial segment and nodes of Ranvier of myelinated neurons. At these sites, AnkG is a master regulator, coordinating the strict clustering of components necessary for proper action potential initiation and propagation along the axon. These components include voltage-gated sodium channels, potassium channels and members of the L1 cell adhesion molecule family. Genetic variation in the ANK3 gene has been linked to a range of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders in human, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorders. Here, we study the effect of reduced expression of the large isoforms of Ank3 on cognition and behaviour using a heterozygous knockout mouse model. In three independent behavioural tests, being the open field test, elevated plus maze and social interaction test, we found evidence for increased anxiety in our Ank3 mouse model. Besides, we observed specific neuroanatomical defects in heterozygous knockout mice, including a smaller cingulate cortex, granular retrosplenial cortex, primary motor cortex and fimbria of the hippocampus.