Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Differential involvement of the gamma-synuclein in cognitive abilities on the model of knockout mice

Viktor S Kokhan12*, Gennadiy I Van’kin1, Sergey O Bachurin1 and Inna Yu Shamakina2

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Physiologically Active Compounds RAS, Chernogolovka, Russia

2 National Research Center on Addictions, Moscow, Russia

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Neuroscience 2013, 14:53  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-14-53

Published: 14 May 2013



Gamma-synuclein is a member of the synuclein family of cytoplasmic, predominantly neuron-specific proteins. Despite numerous evidences for the importance of gamma-synuclein in the control of monoamine homeostasis, cytoskeleton reorganization and chaperone activity, its role in the regulation of cognitive behavior still remain unknown. Our previous study revealed that gamma-synuclein knockout mice are characterized by high habituation scores. Since a number of processes including spatial memory of the environment may affect habituation, in the present study we have carried out behavioral evaluation of spatial and working memory in gamma-synuclein knockout mice.


Inactivation of gamma-synuclein gene led to the improvement of working memory in mice as revealed by passive and active avoidance tests. At the same time behavioral tests, designed to assess spatial learning and memory (Morris water maze and Object location tests), showed no differences between gamma-synuclein knockouts and wild type mice.


These findings indicate that young mice with targeted inactivation of gamma-synuclein gene have improved working memory, but not spatial learning and memory. Our results suggest that gamma-synuclein is directly involved in the regulation of cognitive functions.

Gamma-synuclein; Knockout mice; Learning; Memory