A comparison of striatal-dependent behaviors in wild-type and hemizygous Drd1a and Drd2 BAC transgenic mice

J Neurosci. 2012 Jul 4;32(27):9119-23. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0224-12.2012.


Studies of striatal physiology and motor control have increasingly relied on the use of bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenic mice expressing fluorophores or other genes under the control of genetic regulatory elements for the dopamine D1 receptor (D1R) or dopamine D2 receptor (D2R). Three recent studies have compared wild-type, D1R, and D2R BAC transgenic mice, and found significant differences in physiology and behavior, calling into question the use of these mice in studies of normal circuit function. We repeated the behavioral portions of these studies in wild-type C57BL/6 mice and hemizygous Drd1a-td Tomato (D1-Tmt), Drd1a-eGFP (D1-GFP), and Drd2-eGFP (D2-GFP) mice backcrossed into the C57BL/6 background. Our three laboratories independently found that open-field locomotion, acute locomotor responses to cocaine (20 mg/kg), locomotor sensitization to 5 d of daily injections of cocaine (15 mg/kg) or amphetamine (3 mg/kg), cocaine (20 mg/kg) conditioned place preference, and active avoidance learning to paired light and footshock were indistinguishable in these four mouse lines. These results suggest that while it is crucial to screen new transgenic mouse lines for abnormal behavior and physiology, these BAC transgenic mouse lines remain extremely valuable tools for evaluating the cellular, synaptic, and circuit basis of striatal motor control and associative learning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avoidance Learning / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Chromosomes, Artificial, Bacterial / genetics
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Dopamine Agents / pharmacology*
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Hemizygote
  • Locomotion / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic / genetics*
  • Models, Animal
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2 / genetics*


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Receptors, Dopamine D1
  • Receptors, Dopamine D2
  • dopamine D1A receptor