The Rest/Nrsf transcriptional repressor modulates expression of a large set of neural specific genes. Many of these target genes have well characterized roles in nervous system processes including development, plasticity and synaptogenesis. However, the impact of Rest-mediated transcriptional regulation on behavior has been understudied due in part to the embryonic lethality of the mouse knockout. To investigate the requirement for Rest in behavior, we employed the zebrafish rest mutant to explore a range of behaviors in adults and larva. Adult rest mutants of both sexes showed abnormal behaviors in a novel environment including increased vertical swimming, erratic swimming patterns and a proclivity for the tank walls. Adult males also had diminished reproductive success. At 6 days post fertilization (dpf), rest mutant larva were hypoactive, but displayed normal evoked responses to light and sound stimuli. Overall, these results provide evidence that rest dysfunction produces atypical swimming patterns and preferences in adults, and reduced locomotor activity in larvae. This study provides the first behavioral analysis of rest mutants and reveals specific behaviors that are modulated by Rest.
Keywords: Erratic swimming; Locomotion; Novel environment; Rest/Nrsf; Zebrafish.
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