Motor-coordination-dependent learning, more than others, is impaired in transgenic mice expressing pseudorabies virus immediate-early protein IE180

PLoS One. 2010 Aug 12;5(8):e12123. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012123.


The cerebellum in transgenic mice expressing pseudorabies virus immediate-early protein IE180 (TgIE96) was substantially diminished in size, and its histoarchitecture was severely disorganized, resulting in severe ataxia. TgIE96 mice can therefore be used as an experimental model to study the involvement of cerebellar circuits in different learning tasks. The performance of three-month-old TgIE96 mice was studied in various behavioral tests, including associative learning (classical eyeblink conditioning), object recognition, spatial orientation (water maze), startle response and prepulse inhibition, and passive avoidance, and compared with that of wild-type mice. Wild-type and TgIE96 mice presented similar reflexively evoked eyeblinks, and acquired classical conditioned eyelid responses with similar learning curves for both trace and delay conditioning paradigms. The two groups of mice also had similar performances during the object recognition test. However, they showed significant differences for the other three tests included in this study. Although both groups of animals were capable of swimming, TgIE96 mice failed to learn the water maze task during the allowed time. The startle response to a severe tone was similar in both control and TgIE96 mice, but the latter were unable to produce a significant prepulse inhibition. TgIE96 mice also presented evident deficits for the proper accomplishment of a passive avoidance test. These results suggest that the cerebellum is not indispensable for the performance of classical eyeblink conditioning and for object recognition tasks, but seems to be necessary for the proper performance of water maze, prepulse inhibition, and passive avoidance tests.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Eyelid / physiology
  • Electromyography
  • Gene Expression
  • Herpesvirus 1, Suid / genetics*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics*
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / metabolism*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Motor Activity / genetics
  • Motor Activity / physiology*


  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • pseudorabies virus immediate early proteins