Rhes is involved in striatal function

Daniela Spano, Igor Branchi, Annamaria Rosica, Maria Teresa Pirro, Antonio Riccio, Pratibha Mithbaokar, Andrea Affuso, Claudio Arra, Patrizia Campolon, Daniela Terracciano, Vincenzo Macchia, Juan Bernal, Enrico Alleva, Roberto Di Lauro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The development and the function of central nervous system depend on thyroid hormones. In humans, the lack of thyroid hormones causes cretinism, a syndrome of severe mental deficiency. It is assumed that thyroid hormones affect the normal development and function of the brain by activating or suppressing target gene expression because several genes expressed in the brain have been shown to be under thyroid hormone control. Among these, the Rhes gene, encoding a small GTP-binding protein, is predominantly expressed in the striatal region of the brain. To clarify the role of Rhes in vivo, we disrupted the Rhes gene by homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells and generated mice homozygous for the Rhes null mutation (Rhes-/-). Rhes-/- mice were viable but weighed less than wild-type mice. Furthermore, they showed behavioral abnormalities, displaying a gender-dependent increase in anxiety levels and a clear motor coordination deficit but no learning or memory impairment. These results suggest that Rhes disruption affects selected behavioral competencies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5788-5796
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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