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Exploring the involvement of Tac2 in the mouse hippocampal stress response through gene networking
- Hook, Mike, Xu, Fuyi, Terenina, Elena, Zhao, Wenyuan, Starlard-Davenport, Athena, Mormede, Pierre, Jones, Byron C., Mulligan, Megan K., Lu, Lu
- Gene 2019 v.696 pp. 176-185
- calcium signaling, fearfulness, gene expression, genes, hippocampus, hypothalamus, messenger RNA, mice, muscle contraction, myocardium, neuropeptides, phenotype, quantitative trait loci, stress response
- Tachykinin 2 (Tac2) is expressed in a number of areas throughout the brain, including the hippocampus. However, knowledge about its function has been only well explored in the hypothalamus in the context of reproductive health. In this study, we identified and validated increased hippocampal Tac2 mRNA expression in response to chronic mild stress in mice. Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis showed Tac2 is cis-regulated in the hippocampus. Using a systems genetics approach, we constructed a Tac2 co-expression network to better understand the relationship between Tac2 and the hippocampal stress response. Our network identified 69 total genes associated with Tac2, several of which encode major neuropeptides involved in hippocampal stress signaling as well as critical genes for producing neural plasticity, indicating that Tac2 is involved in these processes. Pathway analysis for the member of Tac2 gene network revealed a strong connection between Tac2 and neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, calcium signaling pathway, as well as cardiac muscle contraction. In addition, we also identified 46 stress-related phenotypes, specifically fear conditioning response, that were significantly correlated with Tac2 expression. Our results provide evidence for Tac2 as a strong candidate gene who likely plays a role in hippocampal stress processing and neural plasticity.