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Contribution of CaMKIV to injury and fear- induced ultrasonic vocalizations in adult mice

BioMed Central
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  • Research
  • Biology


Calcium-calmodulin dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) is a protein kinase that activates the transcription factor CREB. Our previous work demonstrated that mice lacking CaMKIV had a defect in fear memory while behavioral responses to noxious stimuli were unchanged. Here, we measured ultrasonic vocalizations (USVs) before and after fear conditioning and in response to a noxious injection of capsaicin to measure behavioral responses to emotional stimuli. Consistent with previous findings, behavioral nociceptive responses to capsaicin were undistinguishable between wild-type and CaMKIV-/- mice. Wild-type animals showed a selective increase in 50 kHz USVs in response to capsaicin while such an increase was absent in CaMKIV-/- mice. The foot shock given during fear conditioning caused an increase in 30 kHz USVs in both wild-type and CaMKIV-/- mice. When returned to the context one hour later, USVs from the wild-type were significantly decreased. Additionally, the onset of a tone, which had previously been paired with the foot shock, caused a significant decrease in USVs during auditory conditioning. CaMKIV-/- mice showed significantly less reduction in USVs when placed in the same context three days after receiving the shock, consistent with the decrease in freezing reported previously. Our results provide a new approach for investigating the molecular mechanism for emotional vocalization in mice and suggest that CaMKIV dependent signaling pathways play an important role in the emotional response to pain and fear.

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