Deleting Snord115 genes in mice remodels monoaminergic systems activity in the brain toward cortico-subcortical imbalances

Hum Mol Genet. 2023 Jan 6;32(2):244-261. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddac139.


The neuronal-specific SNORD115 has gathered interest because its deficiency may contribute to the pathophysiology of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), possibly by altering post-transcriptional regulation of the gene encoding the serotonin (HTR2C) receptor. Yet, Snord115-KO mice do not resume the main symptoms of PWS, and only subtle-altered A-to-I RNA editing of Htr2c mRNAs was uncovered. Because HTR2C signaling fine-tunes the activity of monoaminergic neurons, we addressed the hypothesis that lack of Snord115 alters monoaminergic systems. We first showed that Snord115 was expressed in both monoaminergic and non-monoaminergic cells of the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) harboring cell bodies of dopaminergic and serotonergic neurons, respectively. Measuring the tissue level of monoamines and metabolites, we found very few differences except that the content of homovanillic acid-a metabolite of dopamine-was decreased in the orbitofrontal and prefrontal cortex of Snord115-KO mice. The latter effects were, however, associated with a few changes in monoamine tissue content connectivity across the 12 sampled brain regions. Using in vivo single-cell extracellular recordings, we reported that the firing rate of VTA dopaminergic neurons and DRN serotonergic neurons was significantly increased in Snord115-KO mice. These neural circuit dysfunctions were not, however, associated with apparent defects in binge eating, conditioned place preference to cocaine, cocaine-induced hyperlocomotion or compulsive behavior. Altogether, our multiscale study shows that the absence of Snord115 impacts central monoaminergic circuits to an extent that does not elicit gross behavioral abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain* / metabolism
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / genetics
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Serotonin / metabolism


  • Dopamine
  • Serotonin