Brain region-dependent gene networks associated with selective breeding for increased voluntary wheel-running behavior

Pan Zhang, Justin S. Rhodes, Theodore Garland, Sam D. Perez, Bruce R. Southey, Sandra L. Rodriguez-Zas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mouse lines selectively bred for high voluntary wheel-running behavior are helpful models for uncovering gene networks associated with increased motivation for physical activity and other reward-dependent behaviors. The fact that multiple brain regions are hypothesized to contribute to distinct behavior components necessitates the simultaneous study of these regions. The goals of this study were to identify brain-region dependent and independent gene expression patterns, regulators, and networks associated with increased voluntary wheel-running behavior. The cerebellum and striatum from a high voluntary running line and a non-selected control line were compared. Neuropeptide genes annotated to reward-dependent processes including neuropeptide S receptor 1 (Npsr1), neuropeptide Y (Npy), and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (Pcsk9), and genes implicated in motor coordination including vitamin D receptor (Vdr) and keratin, type I cytoskeletal 25 (Krt25) were among the genes exhibiting activity line-by-region interaction effects. Genes annotated to the Parkinson pathway presented consistent line patterns, albeit at different orders of magnitude between brain regions, suggesting some parallel events in response to selection for high voluntary activity. The comparison of gene networks between brain regions highlighted genes including transcription factor AP-2-delta (Tfap2d), distal-less homeobox 5 gene (Dlx5) and sine oculis homeobox homolog 3 (Six3) that exhibited line differential expression in one brain region and are associated with reward-dependent behaviors. Transcription factors including En2, Stat6 and Eomes predominated among regulators of genes that differed in expression between lines. Results from the simultaneous study of striatum and cerebellum confirm the necessity to study molecular mechanisms associated with voluntary activity and reward-dependent behaviors in consideration of brain region dependencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0201773
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Brain region-dependent gene networks associated with selective breeding for increased voluntary wheel-running behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this