Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Psychological Science

Thesis Type

Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors

First Advisor

James Stafford

Second Advisor

Sayamwong Hammack

Third Advisor

Allison Anacker


AUTS2, histone dopaminylation, alcohol use disorder


Developing efficacious treatments for alcohol use disorder (AUD) requires an understanding of the disorder on a genetic, molecular, and behavioral level. It is a complex and multifaceted disorder that can be difficult to treat. Recent research has identified several genes involved in the development and progression of AUD, including Autism susceptibility candidate 2, or AUTS2. AUTS2 is linked to several neuropsychiatric diseases as well as alcohol addiction. This study aims to further characterize the involvement of AUTS2 as a modulator of alcohol consumption in AUD phenotypes. Additionally, a novel form of epigenetic regulation, histone dopaminylation, was investigated to determine its role in AUD. Histone dopaminylation has recently been linked to addiction-like behaviors, but the impacts of this modification in alcohol models have not yet been explored. Comparisons were drawn between mice that have a history of ethanol (alcohol) consumption and animals that have no history of consumption, as well as between animals with differing levels of alcohol consumption. The results of the study reveal differences in AUTS2 expression between wildtype and heterozygous AUTS2 knockout animals. Additionally, animals with no history of alcohol consumption showed significantly less AUTS2 expression in certain brain regions when compared with animals with a history of consumption. Unfortunately, the experiments involving histone dopaminylation revealed no results that were able to be validated. However, the results of this study demonstrate a potential link between alcohol consumption and AUTS2 expression in adult mice and may help guide future studies into AUTS2 and its role in AUD.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.