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Friday, August 10, 2012

Taok2 Controls Behavioral Response to Ethanol in Mice

Despite recent advances in the understanding of ethanol's biological action, many of the molecular targets of ethanol and mechanisms behind ethanol's effect on behavior remain poorly understood.

In an effort to identify novel genes, the products of which regulate behavioral responses to ethanol, we recently identified a mutation in the dtao gene that confers resistance to the locomotor stimulating effect of ethanol in Drosophila. dtao encodes a member of the Ste20 family of serine/threonine kinases implicated in MAP kinase signaling pathways.

In the present
study, we report that conditional ablation of the mouse dtao homolog, Taok2, constitutively and specifically in the nervous system, results in strain-specific and overlapping alterations in ethanol-dependent behaviors.

These data suggest a functional conservation of dtao and Taok2 in mediating ethanol's biological action and identify Taok2 as a putative candidate gene for ethanol use disorders in humans.

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