Forebrain excitatory neuron-specific SENP2 knockout mouse displays hyperactivity, impaired learning and memory, and anxiolytic-like behavior

Mol Brain. 2020 Apr 14;13(1):59. doi: 10.1186/s13041-020-00591-8.


Sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 2 (SENP2) is a member of SENPs family involved in maturation of SUMO precursors and deSUMOylation of specific target, and is highly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). Although SENP2 has been shown to modulate embryonic development, fatty acid metabolism, atherosclerosis and epilepsy, the function of SENP2 in the CNS remains poorly understood. To address the role of SENP2 in the CNS and its potential involvement in neuropathology, we generated SENP2 conditional knockout mice by crossing floxed SENP2 mice with CaMKIIα-Cre transgenic mice. Behavioral tests revealed that SENP2 ablation induced hyper-locomotor activity, anxiolytic-like behaviors, spatial working memory impairment and fear-associated learning defect. In line with these observations, our RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data identified a variety of differential expression genes that are particularly enriched in locomotion, learning and memory related biologic process. Taken together, our results indicated that SENP2 plays a critical role in emotional and cognitive regulation. This SENP2 conditional knockout mice model may help reveal novel mechanisms that underlie a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders associated with anxiety and cognition.

Keywords: Anxiety-like behavior; Conditional knockout mice; Learning and memory; RNA-seq; SENP2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / genetics
  • Anxiety / metabolism
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / deficiency*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Fear
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Ontology
  • Learning*
  • Memory*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Prosencephalon / metabolism*
  • Prosencephalon / physiopathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Senp2 protein, mouse