Deletion of Fmr1 in parvalbumin-expressing neurons results in dysregulated translation and selective behavioral deficits associated with fragile X syndrome

Magdalena Kalinowska, Mathijs B. van der Lei, Michael Kitiashvili, Maggie Mamcarz, Mauricio M. Oliveira, Francesco Longo, Eric Klann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common genetic cause of autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, is caused by the lack of fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) expression. FMRP is an mRNA binding protein with functions in mRNA transport, localization, and translational control. In Fmr1 knockout mice, dysregulated translation has been linked to pathophysiology, including abnormal synaptic function and dendritic morphology, and autistic-like behavioral phenotypes. The role of FMRP in morphology and function of excitatory neurons has been well studied in mice lacking Fmr1, but the impact of Fmr1 deletion on inhibitory neurons remains less characterized. Moreover, the contribution of FMRP in different cell types to FXS pathophysiology is not well defined. We sought to characterize whether FMRP loss in parvalbumin or somatostatin-expressing neurons results in FXS-like deficits in mice. Methods: We used Cre-lox recombinase technology to generate two lines of conditional knockout mice lacking FMRP in either parvalbumin or somatostatin-expressing cells and carried out a battery of behavioral tests to assess motor function, anxiety, repetitive, stereotypic, social behaviors, and learning and memory. In addition, we used fluorescent non-canonical amino acid tagging along with immunostaining to determine whether de novo protein synthesis is dysregulated in parvalbumin or somatostatin-expressing neurons. Results: De novo protein synthesis was elevated in hippocampal parvalbumin and somatostatin-expressing inhibitory neurons in Fmr1 knockout mice. Cell type-specific deletion of Fmr1 in parvalbumin-expressing neurons resulted in anxiety-like behavior, impaired social behavior, and dysregulated de novo protein synthesis. In contrast, deletion of Fmr1 in somatostatin-expressing neurons did not result in behavioral abnormalities and did not significantly impact de novo protein synthesis. This is the first report of how loss of FMRP in two specific subtypes of inhibitory neurons is associated with distinct FXS-like abnormalities. Limitations: The mouse models we generated are limited by whole body knockout of FMRP in parvalbumin or somatostatin-expressing cells and further studies are needed to establish a causal relationship between cellular deficits and FXS-like behaviors. Conclusions: Our findings indicate a cell type-specific role for FMRP in parvalbumin-expressing neurons in regulating distinct behavioral features associated with FXS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number29
JournalMolecular Autism
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Autism
  • Behavior
  • FMRP
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Inhibitory neurons
  • Protein synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Deletion of Fmr1 in parvalbumin-expressing neurons results in dysregulated translation and selective behavioral deficits associated with fragile X syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this