, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 131-136

Genetic Correlation Between Steroid Sulfatase Concentration and Initiation of Attack Behavior in Mice

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The pairing region of the X–Y chromosomes recombines at male meiosis. We previously found that offense behavior in male mice, measured by initiation of attack against a conspecific male, was linked to this region. Only one functional gene (coding for steroid sulfatase or Sts) is mapped on this region as of yet, suggesting that it could be a candidate for offense behavior. We estimated the genetic correlation between the concentration of STS protein in the liver and the initiation of attack behavior in 11 strains of inbred mice. The high correlation (close to reliability) coefficient of the behavioral phenotype indicates the implication of STS in offense behavior. Recent investigations have demonstrated the involvement of STS in neurosteroid biochemical pathways, and several lines of evidence indicate that neurosteroids interact with neurotransmitters. These conclusions and our present results support the hypothesis that sulfatation of steroids may be the prime mover of a complex network, including genes shown to be implicated in aggression by mutagenesis.