Fontana, B.D., Reichmann, F., Tilley, C.A., Lavlou, P., Shkumatava, A., Alnassar, N., Hillman, C., Karlsson, K.A., Norton, W.H.J., & Parker, M.O. (2023). adgrl3.1-deficient zebrafish show noradrenaline-mediated externalizing behaviors, and altered expression of externalizing disorder-candidate genes, suggesting functional targets for treatment. Translational Psychiatry, 13(1): 304
Externalizing disorders (ED) are a cause of concern for public health, and their high heritability makes genetic risk factors a priority for research. Adhesion G-Protein-Coupled Receptor L3 (ADGRL3) is strongly linked to several EDs, and loss-of-function models have shown the impacts of this gene on several core ED-related behaviors. For example, adgrl3.1-/- zebrafish show high levels of hyperactivity. However, our understanding of the mechanisms by which this gene influences behavior is incomplete. Here we characterized, for the first time, externalizing behavioral phenotypes of adgrl3.1-/- zebrafish and found them to be highly impulsive, show risk-taking in a novel environment, have attentional deficits, and show high levels of hyperactivity. All of these phenotypes were rescued by atomoxetine, demonstrating noradrenergic mediation of the externalizing effects of adgrl3.1. Transcriptomic analyses of the brains of adgrl3.1-/- vs. wild-type fish revealed several differentially expressed genes and enriched gene clusters that were independent of noradrenergic manipulation. This suggests new putative functional pathways underlying ED-related behaviors, and potential targets for the treatment of ED.
Clinical genetics; ADHD