Sex-dependent alterations in motor and anxiety-like behavior of aged bacterial peptidoglycan sensing molecule 2 knockout mice

Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Jan:67:345-354. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2017.09.014. Epub 2017 Sep 23.


Peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRPs) are key sensing-molecules of the innate immune system that specifically detect bacterial peptidoglycan (PGN) and its derivates. PGRPs have recently emerged as potential key regulators of normal brain development and behavior. To test the hypothesis that PGRPs play a role in motor control and anxiety-like behavior in later life, we used 15-month old male and female peptidoglycan recognition protein 2 (Pglyrp2) knockout (KO) mice. Pglyrp2 is an N-acetylmuramyl-l-alanine amidase that hydrolyzes PGN between the sugar backbone and the peptide chain (which is unique among the mammalian PGRPs). Using a battery of behavioral tests, we demonstrate that Pglyrp2 KO male mice display decreased levels of anxiety-like behavior compared with wild type (WT) males. In contrast, Pglyrp2 KO female mice show reduced rearing activity and increased anxiety-like behavior compared to WT females. In the accelerated rotarod test, however, Pglyrp2 KO female mice performed better compared to WT females (i.e., they had longer latency to fall off the rotarod). Further, Pglyrp2 KO male mice exhibited decreased expression levels of synaptophysin, gephyrin, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the frontal cortex, but not in the amygdala. Pglyrp2 KO female mice exhibited increased expression levels of spinophilin and alpha-synuclein in the frontal cortex, while exhibiting decreased expression levels of synaptophysin, gephyrin and spinophilin in the amygdala. Our findings suggest a novel role for Pglyrp2asa key regulator of motor and anxiety-like behavior in late life.

Keywords: Aging; Amygdala; Innate immune molecules; Prefrontal cortex; Sex differences.

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity*
  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase / genetics
  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Rotarod Performance Test
  • Sex Characteristics*


  • N-Acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine Amidase
  • Pglyrp2 protein, mouse