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Heermann, Tamara; Garrett, Lillian; Wurst, Wolfgang; Fuchs, Helmut; Gailus-Durner, Valerie; Hrabe de Angelis, Martin; Graw, Jochen; Holter, Sabine M. (2018): Crybb2 Mutations Consistently Affect Schizophrenia Endophenotypes in Mice. In: Molecular Neurobiology: S. 1-16
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Abstract

As part of the betagamma-superfamily, betaB2-crystallin (CRYBB2) is an ocular structural protein in the lens, and mutation of the corresponding gene can cause cataracts. CRYBB2 also is expressed in non-lens tissue such as the adult mouse brain and is associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. Nevertheless, the robustness of this association as well as how CRYBB2 may contribute to disease-relevant phenotypes is unknown. To add further clarity to this issue, we performed a comprehensive analysis of behavioral and neurohistological alterations in mice with an allelic series of mutations in the C-terminal end of the Crybb2 gene. Behavioral phenotyping of these three betaB2-mutant lines Crybb2(O377), Crybb2(Philly), and Crybb2(Aey2) included assessment of exploratory activity and anxiety-related behavior in the open field, sensorimotor gating measured by prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the acoustic startle reflex, cognitive performance measured by social discrimination, and spontaneous alternation in the Y-maze. In each mutant line, we also quantified the number of parvalbumin-positive (PV+) GABAergic interneurons in selected brain regions that express CRYBB2. While there were allele-specific differences in individual behaviors and affected brain areas, all three mutant lines exhibited consistent alterations in PPI that paralleled alterations in the PV+ cell number in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN). The direction of the PPI change mirrored that of the TRN PV+ cell number thereby suggesting a role for TRN PV+ cell number in modulating PPI. Moreover, as both altered PPI and PV+ cell number are schizophrenia-associated endophenotypes, our result implicates mutated Crybb2 in the development of this neuropsychiatric disorder.