Transcriptomics

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Cocaine Regulates MEF2 to Control Synaptic and Behavioral Plasticity


ABSTRACT: Repeated exposure to cocaine causes sensitized behavioral responses and increased dendritic spines on medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We find that cocaine regulates myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors to control these two processes in vivo. Cocaine suppresses striatal MEF2 activity in part through a novel mechanism involving cAMP, the regulator of calmodulin signaling (RCS), and calcineurin. We show that reducing MEF2 activity in the NAc in vivo is required for the cocaine-induced increases in dendritic spine density. Surprisingly, we find that increasing MEF2 activity in the NAc, which blocks the cocaine-induced increase in dendritic spine density, enhances sensitized behavioral responses to cocaine. Together, our findings implicate MEF2 as a key regulator of structural synapse plasticity and sensitized responses to cocaine, and suggest that reducing MEF2 activity (and increasing spine density) in NAc may be a compensatory mechanism to limit long-lasting maladaptive behavioral responses to cocaine. Mice were treated for 7 days with daily injections of cocaine (20 mg/kg) and sacrificed 24 hrs later. Chromatin from bilateral punches of NAc was immunoprecipitated with an antibody against MEF2A as described previously with minor modifications (Renthal et al., 2007). Chromatin was sonicated to an average of ~500 bp and immunoprepitated with antibody against MEF2A (Santa Cruz, sc-313) or an IgG control (Upstate/Millipore). Antibody-bound chromatin was precipitated using Protein A beads from Upstate (06-157), which were washed with low salt, high salt, and LiCl buffers to remove non-specific DNA binding. Eluted chromatin was reverse-crosslinked at 65oC in the presence of proteinase K and EDTA. DNA was purified by chloroform extraction/ethanol precipitation and the enrichment of specific promoters was amplified by ligation-mediated PCR for genome-wide analysis (Sikder et al., 2006). Amplified DNA was then labeled with Cy3 (input-enriched) or Cy5 (MEF2-enriched) and hybridized to Nimblegen (Madison, WI) MM8 mouse promoter arrays. Bilateral nucleus accumbens from eight mice were pooled for microarray analysis.

ORGANISM(S): Mus musculus  

SUBMITTER: Will Renthal  

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-11939 | ArrayExpress | 2008-08-24

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): GSE11939PRJNA105793

REPOSITORIES: GEO, ArrayExpress

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Publications


Repeated exposure to cocaine causes sensitized behavioral responses and increased dendritic spines on medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens (NAc). We find that cocaine regulates myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) transcription factors to control these two processes in vivo. Cocaine suppresses striatal MEF2 activity in part through a mechanism involving cAMP, the regulator of calmodulin signaling (RCS), and calcineurin. We show that reducing MEF2 activity in the NAc in vivo is required for  ...[more]

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