Steel mutant mice are deficient in hippocampal learning but not long-term potentiation

Benny Motro, J. Martin Wojtowicz, Alan Bernstein, Derek Van Der Kooy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    83 Scopus citations


    Mice carrying mutations in either the dominant white-spotting (W) or Steel (Sl) loci exhibit deficits in melanogenesis, gametogenesis, and hematopoiesis. W encodes the Kit receptor tyrosine kinase, while Sl encodes the Kit ligand, Steel factor, and the receptor-ligand pair are contiguously expressed at anatomical sites expected from the phenotypes of Wand Sl mice. The c-kit and Steel genes are also both highly expressed in the adult murine hippocampus: Steel is expressed in dentate gyrus neurons whose mossy fiber axons synapse with the c-kit expressing CA3 pyramidal neurons. We report here that Sl/Sl(d) mutant mice have a specific deficit in spatial learning. These mutant mice are also deficient in baseline synaptic transmission between the dentate gyrus and CA3 but show normal long-term potentiation in this pathway. These observations demonstrate a role for Steel factor/Kit signaling in the adult nervous system and suggest that a severe deficit in hippocampal- dependent learning need not be associated with reduced hippocampal long-term potentiation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1808-1813
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - 5 Mar 1996


    Dive into the research topics of 'Steel mutant mice are deficient in hippocampal learning but not long-term potentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this