Deficits in sexual and aggressive behaviors in Cnga2 mutant mice


Odors detected by the vomeronasal organ or the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) trigger social behaviors in many animals. It is unknown whether MOE neurons detect cues that initiate mating or aggression. We demonstrate that mice lacking functional CNGA2 (cyclic nucleotide–gated channel α2), which is required for odor-evoked MOE signaling, fail to mate or fight, suggesting a broad and essential role for the MOE in regulating these behaviors.

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Figure 1: Loss of sexual behavior in Cnga2−/Y mice.
Figure 2: Loss of aggressive behavior in Cnga2−/Y mice.
Figure 3: Loss of preference for female urine odors in Cnga2−/Y mice.


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The authors thank D. Anderson, R. Axel, H. Baier, U. Heberlein, L. Jan, D. Julius and members of the Shah lab for comments on the manuscript. We thank J. Ngai for providing us with Cnga2 mutant females and J. Wong for administrative support. This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R01 NS049488), a Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation and funds from Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC) at University of California, San Francisco (N.M.S.). N.M.S. is a McKnight Scholar and a Sloan Fellow.

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Correspondence to Nirao M Shah.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Fig. 1

Cnga2 mutant males groom conspecifics in a manner similar to WT males. (PDF 167 kb)

Supplementary Note (PDF 109 kb)

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Mandiyan, V., Coats, J. & Shah, N. Deficits in sexual and aggressive behaviors in Cnga2 mutant mice. Nat Neurosci 8, 1660–1662 (2005).

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