Neuronal activity regulates AMPA receptor trafficking, a process that mediates changes in synaptic strength, a key component of learning and memory. This form of plasticity may be induced by stimulation of the NMDA receptor which, among its activities, increases cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) through the nitric oxide synthase pathway. cGMP-dependent protein kinase type II (cGKII) is ultimately activated via this mechanism and AMPA receptor subunit GluA1 is phosphorylated at serine 845. This phosphorylation contributes to the delivery of GluA1 to the synapse, a step that increases synaptic strength. Previous studies have shown that cGKII-deficient mice display striking spatial learning deficits in the Morris Water Maze compared to wild-type littermates as well as lowered GluA1 phosphorylation in the postsynaptic density of the prefrontal cortex (Serulle et al., 2007; Wincott et al., 2013). In the current study, we show that cGKII knockout mice exhibit impaired working memory as determined using the prefrontal cortex-dependent Radial Arm Maze (RAM). Additionally, we report reduced repetitive behavior in the Marble Burying task (MB), and heightened anxiety-like traits in the Novelty Suppressed Feeding Test (NSFT). These data suggest that cGKII may play a role in the integration of information that conveys both anxiety-provoking stimuli as well as the spatial and environmental cues that facilitate functional memory processes and appropriate behavioral response.
Keywords: AMPA receptors; Anxiety; Learning; Memory; Plasticity.
Published by Elsevier Inc.