Honors Theses

Assessing the Behavioral Effects of Conditional SERCA2 Deletion in Central GABAergic Neurons


Pothitos M. Pitychoutis, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Calcium ions (Ca2+) are critical second messengers that regulate a variety of important processes including muscle contraction, neurotransmitter release, and synaptic plasticity. Indeed, dysfunction of Ca2+ homeostasis in the brain has been implicated in the pathophysiology of both neurodegenerative disorders (i.e., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s diseases) and also neurodevelopmental disorders (i.e., autism- spectrum disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and schizophrenia). The sarco-endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ATPase (SERCA2) is a protein responsible for maintaining intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis by sequestering Ca2+ ions into the endoplasmic reticulum. In this study, we used a mouse model to investigate the behavioral implications of the conditional deletion of SERCA2 in the brain’s GABAergic neurons. Specifically, we employed a robust behavioral test battery to assess motor activity, spatial working memory, anxiety, and depressive-like behavior in male and female C57BL/6J mice. In the context of this honors thesis, we provide evidence that furthers our understanding of SERCA2’s function in the brain’s GABAergic neurons.

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