The striatum plays a key role in both reward-related and affective behaviors and disruptions to this circuit con-tributes to depression and drug addiction. However, our understanding of the molecular factors that facilitate and modify these processes are incomplete. Striatal function is modulated by G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that process vast neuromodulatory inputs. GPCR signaling is negatively regulated by regulator of G-protein signaling (Rgs) proteins. In this study, we examine the role of striatal Rgs proteins in depressive-like and reward-related behaviors in male mice. Using a genetic mouse model with specific elimination of Rgs7 in striatal neurons we found that these mice exhibit an anxiolytic-like and antidepressant-like phenotype. In con-trast, knock-out of Rgs9, an abundant Rgs protein in the same neuronal population did not affect the behavioral outcome in the depressive-like tests. Mice lacking striatal Rgs7 did not show significant differences in cocaine-induced psychomotor activation, sensitization or conditional place preference (CPP). Interestingly, loss of Rgs7 in the striatum made mice resilient to stress-induced but not drug-induced reinstatement of cocaine CPP. Analysis of striatal proteome revealed that loss of Rgs7 selectively affected expression of several networks, most prominently including proteins involved in translation and vesicular exocytosis. Together, these findings begin to demonstrate the specific contribution of Rgs7 acting in the striatum toward depression as it relates to stress-induced reinstatement of drug use.
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