Activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc/Arg3.1) regulates anxiety- and novelty-related behaviors.
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The activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein (Arc, also known as Arg3.1) regulates glutamatergic synapse plasticity and has been linked to neuropsychiatric illness; however, its role in behaviors associated with mood and anxiety disorders remains unclear. We find that stress upregulates Arc expression in the adult mouse nucleus accumbens (NAc)-a brain region implicated in mood and anxiety behaviors. Global Arc knockout mice have altered AMPAR-subunit surface levels in the adult NAc, and the Arc-deficient mice show reductions in anxiety-like behavior, deficits in social novelty preference, and antidepressive-like behavior. Viral-mediated expression of Arc in the adult NAc of male, global Arc KO mice restores normal levels of anxiety-like behavior in the elevated plus maze (EPM). Consistent with this finding, viral-mediated reduction of Arc in the adult NAc reduces anxiety-like behavior in male, but not female, mice in the EPM. NAc-specific reduction of Arc also produced significant deficits in both object and social novelty preference tasks. Together our findings indicate that Arc is essential for regulating normal mood- and anxiety-related behaviors and novelty discrimination, and that Arc's function within the adult NAc contributes to these behavioral effects.