Synapsin IIb as a functional marker of submissive behavior

Sci Rep. 2015 May 22;5:10287. doi: 10.1038/srep10287.


Dominance and submissiveness are important functional elements of the social hierarchy. By employing selective breeding based on a social interaction test, we developed mice with strong and stable, inheritable features of dominance and submissiveness. In order to identify candidate genes responsible for dominant and submissive behavior, we applied transcriptomic and proteomic studies supported by molecular, behavioral and pharmacological approaches. We clearly show here that the expression of Synapsin II isoform b (Syn IIb) is constitutively upregulated in the hippocampus and striatum of submissive mice in comparison to their dominant and wild type counterparts. Moreover, the reduction of submissive behavior achieved after mating and delivery was accompanied by a marked reduction of Syn IIb expression. Since submissiveness has been shown to be associated with depressive-like behavior, we applied acute SSRI (Paroxetine) treatment to reduce submissiveness in studied mice. We found that reduction of submissive behavior evoked by Paroxetine was paired with significantly decreased Syn IIb expression. In conclusion, our findings indicate that submissiveness, known to be an important element of depressive-like behavioral abnormalities, is strongly linked with changes in Syn IIb expression.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal* / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dominance-Subordination*
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Paroxetine / pharmacology
  • Proteomics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Synapsins / analysis
  • Synapsins / genetics
  • Synapsins / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Synapsins
  • Paroxetine