Relationships between gene expression and behavior in mice in response to systemic modulation of the O-GlcNAcylation pathway

J Neurochem. 2023 Jun;165(5):682-700. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15835. Epub 2023 May 13.


Enhancing protein O-GlcNAcylation by pharmacological inhibition of the enzyme O-GlcNAcase (OGA), which removes the O-GlcNAc modification from proteins, has been explored in mouse models of amyloid-beta and tau pathology. However, the O-GlcNAcylation-dependent link between gene expression and neurological behavior remains to be explored. Using chronic administration of Thiamet G (TG, an OGA inhibitor) in vivo, we used a protocol designed to relate behavior with the transcriptome and selected biochemical parameters from the cortex of individual animals. TG-treated mice showed improved working memory as measured using a Y-maze test. RNA sequencing analysis revealed 151 top differentially expressed genes with a Log2fold change >0.33 and adjusted p-value <0.05. Top TG-dependent upregulated genes were related to learning, cognition and behavior, while top downregulated genes were related to IL-17 signaling, inflammatory response and chemotaxis. Additional pathway analysis uncovered 3 pathways, involving gene expression including 14 cytochrome c oxidase subunits/regulatory components, chaperones or assembly factors, and 5 mTOR (mechanistic target of rapamycin) signaling factors. Multivariate Kendall correlation analyses of behavioral tests and the top TG-dependent differentially expressed genes revealed 91 statistically significant correlations in saline-treated mice and 70 statistically significant correlations in TG-treated mice. These analyses provide a network regulation landscape that is important in relating the transcriptome to behavior and the potential impact of the O-GlcNAC pathway.

Keywords: OGA; OGT; RNAseq; Y maze; thiamet G; vertical counts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression
  • Mice
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Sirolimus


  • Sirolimus