Foxp1 in forebrain pyramidal neurons controls gene expression required for spatial learning and synaptic plasticity

Daniel J. Araujo, Kazuya Toriumi, Christine O. Escamilla, Ashwinikumar Kulkarni, Ashley G. Anderson, Matthew Harper, Noriyoshi Usui, Jacob Ellegood, Jason P. Lerch, Shari G. Birnbaum, Haley O. Tucker, Craig M. Powell, Genevieve Konopka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Genetic perturbations of the transcription factor Forkhead Box P1 (FOXP1) are causative for severe forms of autism spectrum disorder that are often comorbid with intellectual disability. Recent work has begun to reveal an important role for FoxP1 in brain development, but the brain-region-specific contributions of Foxp1 to autism and intellectual disability phenotypes have yet to be determined fully. Here, we describe Foxp1 conditional knock-out (Foxp1cKO) male and female mice with loss of Foxp1 in the pyramidal neurons of the neocortex and the CA1/CA2 subfields of the hippocampus. Foxp1cKO miceexhibitbehavioral phenotypesthatareof potential relevancetoautism spectrum disorder, including hyperactivity, increased anxiety, communication impairments, and decreased sociability. In addition, Foxp1 cKO mice have gross deficits in learning and memory tasks of relevance to intellectual disability. Using a genome-wide approach, we identified differentially expressed genes in the hippocampus of Foxp1cKO mice associated with synaptic function and development. Furthermore, using magnetic resonance imaging, we uncovered a significant reduction in the volumes of both the entire hippocampus as well as individual hippocampal subfields of Foxp1cKO mice. Finally, we observed reduced maintenance of LTP in area CA1 of the hippocampus in these mutant mice. Together, these data suggest that proper expression of Foxp1 in the pyramidal neurons of the forebrain is important for regulating gene expression pathways that contribute to specific behaviors reminiscent of those seen in autism and intellectual disability. In particular, Foxp1 regulation of gene expression appears to be crucial for normal hippocampal development, CA1 plasticity, and spatial learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10917-10931
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 8 2017


  • Autism
  • Gene expression
  • Hippocampus
  • Spatial learning
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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