Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and its family of peptides are critical coordinators of homeostasis whose actions are mediated through their receptors, CRF receptor 1 (CRFR1) and CRFR2, found throughout the CNS and periphery. The phenotypes of mice deficient in either CRFR1 or CRFR2 demonstrate the critical role these receptors play. CRFR1-mutant mice have an impaired stress response and display decreased anxiety-like behavior, whereas CRFR2-mutant mice are hypersensitive to stress and display increased anxiety-like behavior. To further elucidate the roles of both CRF receptors and determine their interaction in behaviors, we have generated mice deficient in both CRFR1 and CRFR2. The behavioral phenotype of these mice demonstrates a novel role of the mother's genotype on development of pup anxiety. We have found that although the female double-mutant mice display anxiolytic-like behavior, the male double-mutant mice show significantly more anxiety-like behavior compared with the females. We have also determined that the dam's CRFR2 genotype affects the anxiety-like behavior of the male mice, such that a pup born to a heterozygous or mutant dam displays significantly more anxiety-like behavior regardless of that pup's genotype. Double-mutant mice also display an even greater impairment of their hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response to stress than that of the CRFR1-mutant mice. CRF mRNA levels are elevated in CRFR1- and double-mutant mice, and urocortin III and vasopressin mRNA levels are increased in CRFR2- and double-mutant mice. These results indicate that both CRFR1 and CRFR2 have critical roles in gene regulation and the maintenance of homeostasis in response to stress.