Impaired motor learning performance in cerebellar En-2 mutant mice

Behav Neurosci. 1996 Feb;110(1):126-33. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.110.1.126.


Mice homozygous for a null mutation in their En-2 gene exhibit cerebellar neuroanatomical alterations including absence and misplacements of specific fissures and size reduction. The present study investigated cerebellar function by comparing the behavior of age-matched homozygous and heterozygous En-2 mutant and wild-type mice. Motor function of the mutants was found normal in several situations. Habituation to novelty in the open field was not significantly different in mutants. However, in a motor learning paradigm, the rotating rod, the performance of homozygous mutant mice improved significantly less than that of the heterozygous mice which were also significantly impaired compared to wild-type mice. Unlike other cerebellar mutants in which severe motor or sensory defects are obvious, the En-2 mouse model offers a unique tool to study the role of cerebellum in complex behavioral phenomena, including motor learning, without confounding effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / genetics
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Cerebellum / abnormalities*
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics*
  • Heterozygote
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Homozygote
  • Mental Recall / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Neurologic Mutants
  • Motor Skills / physiology*
  • Mutation*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • engrailed 2 protein