Altered spatial learning and memory in mice lacking the mGluR4 subtype of metabotropic glutamate receptor

Behav Neurosci. 1998 Jun;112(3):525-32. doi: 10.1037//0735-7044.112.3.525.


The glutamate analog, L-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4) is a selective agonist for several members of the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) family. Activation of presynaptic mGluRs by L-AP4 causes a suppression of synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. In this study, the role of 1 subtype of mGluR in the nervous system was investigated by analyzing mutant mice lacking the L-AP4-sensitive receptor, mGluR4. Experiments designed to probe hippocampal function showed no impairments in acquisition of spatial learning in the water maze task. However, in a spatial reversal learning task, the mutant mice exhibited significantly accelerated learning performance. Furthermore, in a probe trial administered 6 weeks posttraining, these mice showed impaired spatial accuracy. The results suggest that the mutant mice differed in their ability to learn and integrate new spatial information into previously formed memory traces and that their use of stored spatial information also was altered. Thus, the presynaptically expressed mGluR4 plays a role in the processing of spatial information.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Perforant Pathway / physiology
  • Reaction Time
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / physiology*
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Reversal Learning / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Swimming


  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • metabotropic glutamate receptor 4