Motor coordination defects in mice deficient for the Sam68 RNA-binding protein

Behav Brain Res. 2008 Jun 3;189(2):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2008.01.010. Epub 2008 Feb 5.


The role of RNA-binding proteins in the central nervous system and more specifically their role in motor coordination and learning are poorly understood. We previously reported that ablation of RNA-binding protein Sam68 in mice results in male sterility and delayed mammary gland development and protection against osteoporosis in females. Sam68 however is highly expressed in most regions of the brain especially the cerebellum and thus we investigated the cerebellar-related manifestations in Sam68-null mice. We analyzed the mice for motor function, sensory function, and learning and memory abilities. Herein, we report that Sam68-null mice have motor coordination defects as assessed by beam walking and rotorod performance. Forty-week-old Sam68-null mice (n=12) were compared to their wild-type littermates (n=12). The Sam68-null mice exhibited more hindpaw faults in beam walking tests and fell from the rotating drum at lower speeds and prematurely compared to the wild-type controls. The Sam68-null mice were, however, normal for forelimb strength, tail-hang reflex, balance test, grid walking, the Morris water task, recognition memory, visual discrimination, auditory stimulation and conditional taste aversion. Our findings support a role for Sam68 in the central nervous system in the regulation of motor coordination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology
  • Gait / genetics
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Muscle Strength / genetics
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Rotarod Performance Test
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Khdrbs1 protein, mouse
  • RNA-Binding Proteins