Distinct roles for two chromosome 1 loci in ethanol withdrawal, consumption, and conditioned place preference

Laura B. Kozell, Deaunne L. Denmark, Nicole A. Nicole, Kari Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We previously identified a region on chromosome 1 that harbor quantitative trait loci (QTLs) with large effects on alcohol withdrawal risk using both chronic and acute models in mice. Here, using newly created and existing QTL interval-specific congenic (ISC) models, we report the first evidence that this region harbors two distinct alcohol withdrawal QTLs (Alcw11and Alcw12), which underlie 13% and 3-6%, respectively, of the genetic variance in alcohol withdrawal severity measured using the handling-induced convulsion. Our results also precisely localize Alcw11 and Alcw12 to discreet chromosome regions (syntenic with human 1q23.1-23.3) that encompass a limited number of genes with validated genotype-dependent transcript expression and/or non-synonymous sequence variation that may underlie QTL phenotypic effects. ISC analyses also implicate Alcw11and Alcw12 in withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior, representing the first evidence for their broader roles in alcohol withdrawal beyond convulsions; but detect no evidence for Alcw12 involvement in ethanol conditioned place preference (CPP) or consumption. Our data point to high-quality candidates for Alcw12, including genes involved in mitochondrial respiration, spatial buffering, and neural plasticity, and to Kcnj9 as a high-quality candidate for Alcw11. Our studies are the first to show, using two null mutant models on different genetic backgrounds, that Kcnj9 -/- mice demonstrate significantly less severe alcohol withdrawal than wildtype littermates using acute and repeated exposure paradigms. We also demonstrate that Kcnj9 -/- voluntarily consume significantly more alcohol (20%, two-bottle choice) than wildtype littermates. Taken together with evidence implicating Kcnj9 in ethanol CPP, our results support a broad role for this locus in ethanol reward and withdrawal phenotypes. In summary, our results demonstrate two distinct chromosome 1 QTLs that significantly affect risk for ethanol withdrawal, and point to their distinct unique roles in alcohol reward phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number323
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - Aug 27 2018



  • Anxiety
  • Consumption
  • Convulsions
  • GIRK
  • Quantitative trait locus (QTL)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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