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Impaired instrumental learning in Spred1-/- mice, a model for a rare RASopathy.

  • Borrie, Sarah C; 102214;
  • Horner, Alexa E;
  • Yoshimura, Akihiko;
  • Legius, Eric; 3408;
  • Kopanitsa, Maksym V;
  • Brems, Hilde; 445;
Publication Date
Mar 04, 2021
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RASopathies are neuro-cardio-facio-cutaneous disorders stemming from mutations in genes regulating the RAS-MAPK pathway. Legius syndrome is a rare RASopathy disorder caused by mutations in the SPRED1 gene. SPRED1 protein negatively regulates activation of Ras by inhibiting RAS/RAF and by its interaction with neurofibromin, a Ras GTPase-activating protein (RAS-GAP). Cognitive impairments have been reported in Legius syndrome as well as in other RASopathy disorders. Modelling these cognitive deficits in a Spred1 mouse model for Legius syndrome has demonstrated spatial learning and memory deficits, but other cognitive domains remained unexplored. Here, we attempted to utilize a cognitive touchscreen battery to investigate if Spred1-/- mice exhibit deficits in other cognitive domains. We show that Spred1-/- mice had heterogeneous performance in instrumental operant learning, with a large subgroup (n = 9/20) failing to reach the standard criterion on touchscreen operant pretraining, precluding further cognitive testing. To examine whether targeting the RAS-MAPK signalling pathway could rescue these cognitive impairments, Spred1-/- mice were acutely treated with the clinically relevant mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK) inhibitor PD325901. However, MEK inhibition did not improve their instrumental learning. We conclude that Spred1-/- mice can model severe cognitive impairments that cannot be reversed in adulthood. / status: accepted

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