A major concern in neuroscience is how cognitive ability in adulthood is affected and regulated by developmental mechanisms. The molecular bases of cognitive development are not well understood. We provide evidence for the involvement of the α2 isoform of Rac-specific guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase)-activating protein (RacGAP) α-chimaerin (chimerin) in this process. We generated and analyzed mice with global and conditional knockouts of α-chimaerin and its isoforms (α1-chimaerin and α2-chimaerin) and found that α-chimaerin plays a wide variety of roles in brain function and that the roles of α1-chimaerin and α2-chimaerin are distinct. Deletion of α2-chimaerin, but not α1-chimaerin, beginning during early development results in an increase in contextual fear learning in adult mice, whereas learning is not altered when α2-chimaerin is deleted only in adulthood. Our findings suggest that α2-chimaerin acts during development to establish normal cognitive ability in adulthood.
Iwata, R., Ohi, K., Kobayashi, Y., Masuda, A., Iwama, M., Yasuda, Y., … Iwasato, T. (2014). RacGAP α2-Chimaerin Function in Development Adjusts Cognitive Ability in Adulthood. Cell Reports, 8(5), 1257–1264. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2014.07.047