RNA-Seq Analysis of Genetic and Transcriptome Network Effects of Dual-Trait Selection for Ethanol Preference and Withdrawal Using SOT and NOT Genetic Models

Laura B. Kozell, Denesa Lockwood, Priscila Darakjian, Stephanie Edmunds, Karen Shepherdson, Kari J. Buck, Robert Hitzemann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Genetic factors significantly affect alcohol consumption and vulnerability to withdrawal. Furthermore, some genetic models showing predisposition to severe withdrawal are also predisposed to low ethanol (EtOH) consumption and vice versa, even when tested independently in naïve animals. Methods: Beginning with a C57BL/6J × DBA/2J F2 intercross founder population, animals were simultaneously selectively bred for both high alcohol consumption and low acute withdrawal (SOT line), or vice versa (NOT line). Using randomly chosen fourth selected generation (S4) mice (N = 18-22/sex/line), RNA-Seq was employed to assess genome-wide gene expression in ventral striatum. The MegaMUGA array was used to detect genome-wide genotypic differences. Differential gene expression and the weighted gene co-expression network analysis were implemented as described elsewhere (Genes Brain Behav 16, 2017, 462). Results: The new selection of the SOT and NOT lines was similar to that reported previously (Alcohol Clin Exp Res 38, 2014, 2915). One thousand eight hundred and sixteen transcripts were detected as differentially expressed between the lines. For genes more highly expressed in the SOT line, there was enrichment in genes associated with cell adhesion, synapse organization, and postsynaptic membrane. The genes with a cell adhesion annotation included 23 protocadherins, Mpdz and Dlg2. Genes with a postsynaptic membrane annotation included Gabrb3, Gphn, Grid1, Grin2b, Grin2c, and Grm3. The genes more highly expressed in the NOT line were enriched in a network module (red) with annotations associated with mitochondrial function. Several of these genes were module hub nodes, and these included Nedd8, Guk1, Elof1, Ndufa8, and Atp6v1f. Conclusions: Marked effects of selection on gene expression were detected. The NOT line was characterized by higher expression of hub nodes associated with mitochondrial function. Genes more highly expressed in the SOT aligned with previous findings, for example, Colville and colleagues (Genes Brain Behav 16, 2017, 462) that both high EtOH preference and consumption are associated with effects on cell adhesion and glutamate synaptic plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-830
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Alcohol
  • Dual-Trait Selective Breeding
  • Genetics
  • Mouse
  • RNA-Seq
  • Transcriptome Sequencing
  • Ventral Striatum
  • Weighted Gene Co-expression Network Analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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