Maternal care is an indispensable behavioral component necessary for survival and reproductive success in mammals, and postpartum maternal behavior is mediated by an incompletely understood complex interplay of signals including effects of epigenetic regulation. We approached this issue using our recently established mice with targeted deletion of heterochromatin protein 1 binding protein 3 (HP1BP3), which we found to be a novel epigenetic repressor with critical roles in postnatal growth. Here, we report a dramatic reduction in the survival of pups born to Hp1bp3−/− deficient mouse dams, which could be rescued by co-fostering with wild-type dams. Hp1bp3−/− females failed to retrieve both their own pups and foster pups in a pup retrieval test, and showed reduced anxiety-like behavior in the open-field and elevated-plus-maze tests. In contrast, Hp1bp3−/− females showed no deficits in behaviors often associated with impaired maternal care, including social behavior, depression, motor coordination and olfactory capability; and maintained unchanged anxiety-associated hallmarks such as cholinergic status and brain miRNA profiles. Collectively, our results suggest a novel role for HP1BP3 in regulating maternal and anxiety-related behavior in mice and call for exploring ways to manipulate this epigenetic process.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors wish to thank Professors Adi Mizrahi and Raz Yirmiya and Dr Yael Shlomai-Fuchs for their most helpful advice and discussions regarding maternal and social behavior. Ilan Friedson, Uriya Bekenstein and Dr Nibha Mishra, Jerusalem for help with preparation and analysis of deep sequencing. The sequencing was performed at the Center for Genomic Technologies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This work was supported by The United States – Israel Binational Science Foundation (grant number 2013194 to JO and CJR), and by the European Research Council (Advanced Award 321501, to HS). BPG is supported by a fellowship from the Edmond and Lilly Safra Center for Brain Sciences. SA is a scholarship recipient of the Joint Research Fund of The Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine, Hadassah-Shaare Zedek-Kaplan Medical Centers. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd and International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society
- knockout mouse
- maternal behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Behavioral Neuroscience