Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a generally hereditary form of human mental retardation that is caused by triplet repeat expansion (CGG) mutation in fragile X mental retardation 1 (fmr1) gene promoter and that results in the absence of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP) expression. The common symptoms of FXS patients include learning disabilities, anxiety, autistic behaviors, as well as other behavioral abnormalities. Our previous results demonstrated the behavioral abnormalities in fmr1 knockout (KO) zebrafish such as fear memory impairment and autism-like behavior. Here, we studied the functional role of fmr1 gene on the development of social behavior by behavioral experiments, including shoaling behavior, shoaling preference, light/dark test, and novel tank task. Our results demonstrated that precocious development of shoaling behavior is found in fmr1 KO zebrafish without affecting the shoaling preference on conspecific zebrafish. The shoaling behavior appeared after 14 days postfertilization (dpf), and the level of shoaling elevated in fmr1 KO zebrafish. Furthermore, the fmr1 KO zebrafish at 28 dpf expressed higher anxiety level in novel tank task. These results suggest that the change of shoaling behavior in fmr1 KO zebrafish may result from hyperactivity and an increase of anxiety.
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