Group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), specifically receptors 4, 6, 7, and 8 (i.e., mGluR4, mGluR6, mGluR7, mGluR8), play an important role in the generation of locomotion as well as in the behavioral effects of some psychostimulants. Because the arousing or stimulant effects of ethanol seem to be relevant behavioral traits associated with its rewarding properties and genetic susceptibility to alcoholism, we addressed the role of mGluR4 by studying behavioral actions of ethanol in mutant mice lacking mGluR4. Null mutant mice showed higher motor response to novelty than did wild-type mice. Ethanol (1.0-2.5 g/kg) stimulated motor activity of wild-type mice, but not of null mutant mice. There were no significant differences between wild-type and knockout strains in ethanol consumption or preference in two-bottle paradigm, severity of ethanol-induced acute withdrawal, or duration of loss of righting reflex. These results show that mGluR4 may play a role in locomotor activity in general and also display specificity for mediation of the motor stimulant effect of ethanol. Consistent with findings of other studies, these results confirm the lack of correlation between ethanol-induced motor stimulation and consumption of ethanol measured in a self-administration paradigm in mice.