Chronic social stress is closed related to major depressive disorder, torturing millions of people and may destroy their lives. The prefrontal cortex is one of the core brain areas involved in pathological development and behavior changes in depression. CELF4 is a neuronal RNA-binding protein and plays an essential role in RNA processing. It is closely related to some neurological disorders, including seizures and neuroticism. Most recently, GWAS analysis indicates it is one of the significant genes associated with depression. Nonetheless, we are still unknown whether and how CELF4 gets involved in depression. Here, we reported that the protein and mRNA expression levels of CELF4 in the PFC were decreased in the CSDS depression model, as well as the spine number. Furthermore, we disturbed CELF4 expression in the PFC by using the AAV-shCELF4 virus. Unexpectedly, the spine number showed a decrease in PFC because of the impaired CELF4 expression, and the AAV-shCELF4 mice displayed depression-like behaviors. Our results suggest that CELF4 is critical for spine number and acts a critical role in depression-like behaviors of mice.

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