Genetic disruption of Grm5 causes complex alterations in motor activity, anxiety and social behaviors

Jian Xu*, John J. Marshall, Stephen Kraniotis, Toshihiro Nomura, Yongling Zhu, Anis Contractor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interactions and restricted and repetitive behaviors. Although group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), and in particular mGluR5, have been extensively proposed as potential targets for intervention in autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, there has not been a comprehensive analysis of the effect of mGluR5 loss on behaviors typically assessed in autism mouse models thought to be correlates of behavioral symptoms of human disorders. Here we present a behavioral characterization of mice with complete or partial loss of mGluR5 (homozygous or heterozygous null mutations in Grm5 gene). We tested several autism related behaviors including social interaction, repetitive grooming, digging and locomotor behaviors. We found that digging and marble burying behaviors were almost completely abolished in mGluR5 ko mice, although self-grooming was not altered. Social interaction was impaired in ko but not in heterozygote (het) mice. In tests of locomotor activity and anxiety related behaviors, mGluR5 ko mice exhibited hyperactivity and reduced anxiety in the open field test but unexpectedly, showed hypoactivity in the elevated zero-maze test. There was no impairment in motor learning in the accelerating rotarod in both ko and het mutant. Together these results provide support for the importance of mGluR5 in motor and social behaviors that are specifically affected in autism disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113378
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Aug 6 2021


  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Locomotor activity
  • Social interaction
  • mGluR5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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