Genetic disruption of the alternative splicing of drebrin gene impairs context-dependent fear learning in adulthood

Neuroscience. 2010 Jan 13;165(1):138-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.10.016. Epub 2009 Oct 24.


Dendritic spines are postsynaptic structures at excitatory synapses that play important roles in synaptic transmission and plasticity. Dendritic spine morphology and function are regulated by an actin-based cytoskeletal network. Drebrin A, an adult form of drebrin, is an actin-binding protein in dendritic spines, and its decrease is purportedly concerned with synaptic dysfunction in Alzheimer's disease. Rapid conversion of drebrin E, an embryonic form of drebrin, to drebrin A occurs in parallel with synaptic maturation. To understand the physiological role of drebrin isoform conversion in vivo, we generated knockout mice in which a drebrin A-specific exon was deleted from the drebrin gene. Drebrin A-specific knockout (DAKO) mice expressed drebrin E, which substituted for drebrin A. Subcellular fractionation experiment indicated that cytosolic form of drebrin was increased in the brains of DAKO mice. Furthermore, drebrin accumulation in synaptosomes of DAKO mice was much higher than that of wild-type (WT) mice. DAKO mice were viable and showed no apparent abnormalities in their gross brain morphology and general behaviors. However, DAKO mice were impaired in a context-dependent freezing after fear conditioning. These data indicate that drebrin A plays an indispensable role in some processes of generating fear learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Fear*
  • Learning*
  • Maze Learning
  • Memory
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism


  • Neuropeptides
  • Protein Isoforms
  • drebrins
  • Dizocilpine Maleate