Deletion of Numb/Numblike in glutamatergic neurons leads to anxiety-like behavior in mice


Endocytic adaptor protein Numb is the first identified cell fate determinant in Drosophila melanogaster. It has been implicated in Notch signaling pathway and regulation of neural stem cells proliferation in the central nervous system. Numb is also expressed in postmitotic neurons, in vitro studies showed that Numb is involved in neuronal morphologic development, such as neurite growth, axonal growth and spine development. However, in vivo functions of Numb in the postmitotic neurons are largely unknown. Here we show that deletion of Numb/Numblike in glutamatergic neurons causes anxiety-like behavior in mouse. In this study, we conditionally deleted Numb and its homologous gene Numblike in the glutamatergic neurons in dorsal forebrain, and thoroughly characterized the behavioral phenotypes of mutant mice. On a battery of tests for anxiety-like behavior, the conditional double knockout mice showed increased anxiety-like behavior on light/dark exploration and novel open field tests, but not on elevated zero maze tests. The conditional double knockout mice also displayed novelty induced hyperactivity in novel open field test. Control measures of general health, motor functions, startle response, sensorimotor gating, depression-related behaviors did not show differences between genotypes. Our present findings provide new insight into the indispensable functions of Numb/Numblike in the brain and behavior, and suggest that Numb/Numblike may play a role in mediating neuronal functions that underlie behaviors related to anxiety.