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Transgenic mice expressing constitutive active MAPKAPK5 display gender-dependent differences in exploration and activity

Nancy Gerits1*, Werner Van Belle2 and Ugo Moens1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Microbiology and Virology, Institute of Medical Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway

2 Department of Medical Genetics, University Hospital of Northern-Norway, N-9036 Tromsø, Norway

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Behavioral and Brain Functions 2007, 3:58  doi:10.1186/1744-9081-3-58

Published: 12 November 2007



The mitogen-activated protein kinases, MAPKs for short, constitute cascades of signalling pathways involved in the regulation of several cellular processes that include cell proliferation, differentiation and motility. They also intervene in neurological processes like fear conditioning and memory. Since little remains known about the MAPK-Activated Protein Kinase, MAPKAPK5, we constructed the first MAPKAPK knockin mouse model, using a constitutive active variant of MAPKAPK5 and analyzed the resulting mice for changes in anxiety-related behaviour.


We performed primary SHIRPA observations during background breeding into the C57BL/6 background and assessed the behaviour of the background-bred animals on the elevated plus maze and in the light-dark test. Our results were analyzed using Chi-square tests and homo- and heteroscedatic T-tests.


Female transgenic mice displayed increased amounts of head dips and open arm time on the maze, compared to littermate controls. In addition, they also explored further into the open arm on the elevated plus maze and were less active in the closed arm compared to littermate controls. Male transgenic mice displayed no differences in anxiety, but their locomotor activity increased compared to non-transgenic littermates.


Our results revealed anxiety-related traits and locomotor differences between transgenic mice expressing constitutive active MAPKAPK5 and control littermates.