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Elevated Level of PKMz Underlies the Excessive Anxiety in an
AAV- PKMζ was used to overexpress PKMz in the BLA. (From BrainVTA)
The viruses used in this article from BrainVTA are in the table below
Control  PT-0241 rAAV-hSyn-GFP-pA
Custom-Made AAV  rAAV-hSyn- PKMζ-pA
Xiaoli Gao, Rui Zheng, Xiaoyan Ma, Zhiting Gong1, Dan Xia and Qiang Zhou
Pub Date: 2019-11-28,  DOI: 10.3389/fnmol.2019.00291,  Email:
Anxiety affects the life quality of a significant percentage of autism patients. To understand the possible biological basis of this high anxiety level, we used a valproic acid (VPA) model of autism. Anxiety level is significantly higher in VPA-injected mice, at both P35 and P70. In addition, protein kinase Mz (PKMz) level in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) is significantly higher in VPA mice at both ages. Consistent with this finding, infusion of a PKMz-blocking peptide z-pseudosubstrate inhibitory peptide (ZIP) into BLA significantly reduced anxiety levels in VPA mice. Furthermore, viral overexpression of PKMz in the BLA led to elevated anxiety level in Wild Type (WT) mice, with concomitant higher intrinsic excitability of BLA excitatory neurons. Altogether, our results indicate a key contribution of BLA PKMz level to anxiety, especially in autism; and this finding may provide a further understanding of the pathogenesis as well as treatment of anxiety symptoms in autism patients.

Fig 1. Overexpression of PKMz resulted in higher intrinsic excitability in the excitatory neurons in BLA.
To further identify potential mediators of the hyperactivity in the amygdala, the authors decided to focus on protein kinase Mζ(PKMζ). By using AAV viral transfection to overexpress PKMζ (From BrainVTA), the results show that PKMζ level in BLA is highly relevant to the anxiety level, and may contribute to the pathological anxiety in autism patients.

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