Partial behavioral compensation is revealed in balance tasked mutant mice lacking otoconia

M. D. Crapon De Caprona, Kirk Beisel, D. H. Nichols, B. Fritzsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We describe for the first time behavioral tests which show that mammals with congenital absence of otoconia can learn a motor task that normally relies on gravity perception. The mouse mutation tilted (tlt) occurs in the otopetrin 1 gene (Otop1 tlt/tlt) and eliminates an essential component necessary for the formation of otoconia. Our data show that even in the absence of otoconia, tlt mutant mice, like normal mice, learn to cross a bar suspended between two boxes and, with practice, improve their speed of crossing. Despite this learned compensatory skills, tlt mutant mice show balance impairments, such as falling from the bar, not observed in wild type (WT) or heterozygous (het) Otop1 +/tlt littermates. The tlt mutant mice also use their tail as additional support, a behavior that is rarely exhibited in the control littermates. Interestingly, the Otop1 +/tlt heterozygous littermates show in many aspects an intermediate phenotype between wild type and tlt mutant mice, suggestive of a gene dosage effect. Overall, these data support the notion that mammals can use other otic and extraotic receptors such as semicircular canals and limb proprioreceptors, respectively, to compensate for the absence of otoconia-mediated gravity perception in a balance task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2004

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Otolithic Membrane
Gravity Sensing
Mammals
Semicircular Canals
Gene Dosage
Ear
Tail
Extremities
Phenotype
Mutation
Genes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Partial behavioral compensation is revealed in balance tasked mutant mice lacking otoconia. / Crapon De Caprona, M. D.; Beisel, Kirk; Nichols, D. H.; Fritzsch, B.

In: Brain Research Bulletin, Vol. 64, No. 4, 15.12.2004, p. 289-301.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Crapon De Caprona, M. D. ; Beisel, Kirk ; Nichols, D. H. ; Fritzsch, B. / Partial behavioral compensation is revealed in balance tasked mutant mice lacking otoconia. In: Brain Research Bulletin. 2004 ; Vol. 64, No. 4. pp. 289-301.
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