Pharmacological and Behavioral Characterization of the Reward Pathway in Diverse Mice


Avery Lopez

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018

JAX Location

In: Student Reports, Summer 2018, The Jackson Laboratory


An organism's behaviors are largely shaped by the contribution of genetics and environmental factors. This study investigates this concept in two parallel projects to better understand the role of genetics in complex addiction-relevant behaviors. The first examines the role of a single gene deletion, tropomodulin-2 (Tmod2), on behaviors related to the reward pathway, as well as learning and memory. Diverse strains of mice were assessed to pilot and validate an assay utilizing the modified holeboard (mHB) as a means to measure behavior and cognition. In a set of three experiments, the mHB protocol was modified in attempt to validate the test. After a variety of changes, optimal conditions for the assay were reached. For future work of this project, these conditions will be implemented to test the tropomodulin2-knockout (Tmod2-KO) mice on the mHB.

The second project explores the role of an interaction between multiple genes in Collaborative Cross Recombinant F1 (CC-RIX) strains on behaviors that are indicative of unique addiction phenotypes. Two psychostimulant drugs, cocaine and MK801, were used to assess behaviors related to the reward pathway. Various plots of net responses to the respective drugs suggest genotypes of CC-RIXs, and therefore specific genes, that are responsible for a variety of phenotypes relevant to addiction. These genes can be examined more closely for their specific influence.

Please contact the Joan Staats Library for information regarding this document.