Ephrin-A5 regulates inter-male aggression in mice

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Jun 1;286:300-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2015.03.001. Epub 2015 Mar 6.


The Eph family of receptor tyrosine kinases play key roles in both the patterning of the developing nervous system and neural plasticity in the mature brain. To determine functions of ephrin-A5, a GPI-linked ligand to the Eph receptors, in animal behavior regulations, we examined effects of its inactivation on male mouse aggression. When tested in the resident-intruder paradigm for offensive aggression, ephrin-A5-mutant animals (ephrin-A5(-/-)) exhibited severe reduction in conspecific aggression compared to wild-type controls. On the contrary, defensive aggression in the form of target biting was higher in ephrin-A5(-/-) mice, indicating that the mutant mice are capable of attacking behavior. In addition, given the critical role of olfaction in aggressive behavior, we examined the ability of the ephrin-A5(-/-) mice to smell and found no differences between the mutant and control animals. Testosterone levels in the mutant mice were also found to be within the normal range. Taken together, our data reveal a new role of ephrin-A5 in the regulation of aggressive behavior in mice.

Keywords: Aggression; Eph receptor; Ephrin-A5; Resident-intruder; Target biting; Testosterone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior / physiology
  • Ephrin-A5 / genetics
  • Ephrin-A5 / metabolism*
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology
  • Pattern Recognition, Physiological / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Ephrin-A5
  • Testosterone