Inverse regulation of plasticity-related immediate early genes by calcineurin in hippocampal neurons.
ABSTRACT: In the mammalian hippocampus, changes in the expression of immediate early genes (IEGs) is thought to contribute to long term plastic changes in neurons brought about by learning tasks and high frequency stimulation of synapses. The phosphatase calcineurin has emerged as an important negative regulator of hippocampus-dependent learning and long term potentiation. Here we investigated the possibility that the constraining action of calcineurin on hippocampal plasticity is mediated in part by regulation of gene expression through negative control of transcription factors, such as cAMP-response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB). We assessed the effect of calcineurin inhibitors on CREB activation by neuronal activity and show that calcineurin activity is in fact required for CREB-mediated gene expression. However, inhibition of calcineurin had disparate effects on the transcriptional induction of CREB-dependent IEGs. We find that the IEG c-fos is unaffected by suppression of calcineurin activity, the plasticity-related genes Egr1/Zif268 and Egr2/Krox-20 are up-regulated, and genes encoding the orphan nuclear hormone receptors Nor1 and Nur77 are down-regulated. We further show that the up-regulation of particular IEGs is probably due to the presence of serum response elements (SREs) in their promoters, because SRE-mediated gene expression is enhanced by calcineurin blockers. Moreover, expression of the c-fos gene, which is unaffected by calcineurin inhibitors, could be down-regulated by mutating the SRE. Conversely, SRE-mediated c-fos induction in the absence of a functional CRE was enhanced by calcineurin inhibitors. Our experiments thus implicate calcineurin as a negative regulator of SRE-dependent neuronal genes.
Project description:Immediate early gene (IEG) expression is coordinated by multiple MAP kinase signaling pathways in a signal specific manner. Stress-activated p38? MAP kinase is implicated in transcriptional regulation of IEGs via MSK-mediated CREB phosphorylation. The protein kinases downstream to p38, MAPKAP kinase (MK) 2 and MK3 have been identified to regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional levels of mRNA stability and translation. Here, we analyzed stress-induced IEG expression in MK2/3-deficient cells. Ablation of MKs causes a decrease of p38? level and p38-dependent IEG expression. Unexpectedly, restoration of p38? does not rescue the full-range IEG response. Instead, the catalytic activity of MKs is necessary for the major transcriptional activation of IEGs. By transcriptomics, we identified MK2-regulated genes and recognized the serum response element (SRE) as a common promoter element. We show that stress-induced phosphorylation of serum response factor (SRF) at serine residue 103 is significantly reduced and that induction of SRE-dependent reporter activity is impaired and can only be rescued by catalytically active MK2 in MK2/3-deficient cells. Hence, a new function of MKs in transcriptional activation of IEGs via the p38?-MK2/3-SRF-axis is proposed which probably cooperates with MKs' role in posttranscriptional gene expression in inflammation and stress response.
Project description:The immediate early genes (IEGs) c-Fos and Egr-1 are rapidly and transiently induced in sparse neurons within the hippocampus after exposure to an acute stressor. The induction of these genes is a critical part of the molecular mechanisms underlying successful behavioral adaptation to stress. Our previous work has shown that transcriptional activation of c-Fos and Egr-1 in the hippocampus requires formation of a dual histone mark within their promoter regions, the phosphorylation of serine 10 and acetylation of lysine 9/14 of histone H3. In the present study, using chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP), we found that an increase in the formation of H3K9ac-S10p occurs within the c-Fos and Egr-1 promoters after FS stress in vivo and that these histone modifications were located to promoter regions containing cAMP Responsive Elements (CREs), but not in neighboring regions containing only Serum Responsive Elements (SREs). Surprisingly, however, subsequent ChIP analyses showed no changes in the binding of pCREB or CREB-binding protein (CBP) to the CREs after FS. In fact, pCREB binding to the c-Fos and Egr-1 promoters was already highly enriched under baseline conditions and did not increase further after stress. We suggest that constitutive pCREB binding may keep c-Fos and Egr-1 in a poised state for activation. Possibly, the formation of H3K9ac-S10p in the vicinity of CRE sites may participate in unblocking transcriptional elongation through recruitment of additional epigenetic factors.
Project description:GnRH binds to its receptor on gonadotropes and activates multiple members of the MAPK signaling family that in turn regulates the expression of several immediate early genes (IEGs) including Jun, Fos, Atf3, and Egr1. These IEGs confer hormonal responsiveness to gonadotrope-specific genes including Gnrhr, Cga, Fshb, and Lhb. In this study we tested the hypothesis that GnRH specifically regulates the accumulation of Jun and Atf3 mRNA through a pathway that includes intracellular Ca²?, calcineurin, and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Our results indicate that pretreatment of murine L?T2 cells with 1, 2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid tetra(acetoxymethyl)-ester, a Ca²? chelator, reduced the expression of all the IEGs to varying degrees, whereas treatment with thapsigargin, an intracellular Ca²? protein pump inhibitor, increased the expression of the IEG. Furthermore, cyclosporin A, a calcineurin-specific inhibitor, reduced the ability of GnRH to regulate accumulation of Jun and Atf3 mRNA and to a lesser extent Fos. In contrast, Egr1 mRNA was unaffected. NFATs are transcription factors regulated by calcineurin and were detected in L?T2 cells. GnRH increased luciferase activity of an NFAT-dependent promoter reporter that was dependent on intracellular Ca²? and calcineurin activity. Additionally, although small interfering RNA specific for Nfat4 only marginally reduced GnRH regulation of Jun, Fos, and Atf3 mRNA accumulation, activity of an activator protein-1-responsive reporter construct was reduced by 48%. Together these data suggest that calcineurin and NFAT are new members of the gonadotrope transcriptional network that confer hormonal responsiveness to several key genes required for gonadotropin synthesis and secretion.
Project description:The Ca2+-induced expression of the primary response genes egr-1 and c-fos was investigated in the murine erythroleukaemia cell line ELM-I-1. Exposure of the cells to the Ca2+-ionophore A23187 led to a rapid transient rise in egr-1 and c-fos mRNA production followed by an increase in Egr-1 and c-Fos protein levels as well as an increase in Egr-1 and activator protein 1 (AP-1) DNA-binding activity. Preincubation of the cells with KN-62, a specific inhibitor of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases, strongly decreased the Ca2+-mediated expression of egr-1 and c-fos. In contrast, treatment with cyclosporin A, which inhibits the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase 2B or calcineurin, increased both egr-1 and c-fos mRNA production and the DNA-binding activity of the Egr-1 and AP-1 transcription factors in response to the intracellular Ca+ concentration ([Ca2+]i)-increasing agents A23187 or cyclopiazonic acid. Enhancement of the Ca2+-induced c-fos and egr-1 expression by cyclosporin A was correlated with the capability of this agent to inhibit calcineurin phosphatase activity in ELM-I-1 cells. Studies on the phosphorylation state and DNA-binding activity of the cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) did not demonstrate an early Ca2+-dependent activation of this transcription factor, suggesting that the regulation of c-fos and egr-1 expression by Ca2+ is not linked to CREB in the haematopoietic ELM-I-1 cells. The results indicate that calcineurin exerts negative regulatory effects on both egr-1 and c-fos expression in murine erythroleukaemia cells, in addition to the calcineurin-mediated down-regulation of c-myb expression observed previously in this cell system. This study therefore emphasizes the important role of calcineurin as a negative modulator of gene expression in certain cell types.
Project description:Gs protein-coupled receptors regulate many vital body functions by activation of cAMP response elements (CRE) via cAMP-dependent kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of the CRE binding protein (CREB). Melanocortin 4 receptors (MC4R) are prototypical Gs-coupled receptors that orchestrate the hypothalamic control of food-intake and metabolism. Remarkably, the significance of PKA for MC4R-induced CRE-dependent transcription in hypothalamic cells has not been rigorously interrogated yet. In two hypothalamic cell lines, we observed that blocking PKA activity had only weak or no effects on reporter gene expression. In contrast, inhibitors of exchange factors directly activated by cAMP-1/2 (EPAC-1/2) mitigated MC4R-induced CRE reporter activation and mRNA induction of the CREB-dependent genes c-fos and thyrotropin-releasing hormone. Furthermore, we provide first evidence that extracellular-regulated kinases-1/2 (ERK-1/2) activated by EPACs and not PKA are the elusive CREB kinases responsible for MC4R-induced CREB/CRE activation in hypothalamic cells. Overall, these data emphasize the pivotal role of EPACs rather than PKA in hypothalamic gene expression elicited by a prototypical Gs-coupled receptor.
Project description:We report the cloning and characterization of TOX3, a high mobility group box protein involved in mediating calcium-dependent transcription. TOX3 was identified as a calcium-dependent transactivator using the Transactivator Trap screen. We find that TOX3 interacts with both cAMP response element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB) and CREB-binding protein (CBP), and knockdown of the endogenous TOX3 by RNAi leads to significant reduction of calcium-induced c-fos expression and complete inhibition of calcium activation of the c-fos promoter. The effects of TOX3 on calcium-dependent transcription require the CRE elements. These observations identify TOX3 as an important regulator of calcium-dependent transcription and suggest that TOX3 exerts its effect on CRE-mediated transcription via its association with the CREB-CBP complex.
Project description:The basolateral nuclei of the amygdala (BLA) are thought to modulate memory storage in other brain regions (McGaugh, 2004). We reported that BLA modulates the memory for both an explored context and for contextual fear conditioning. Both of these memories depend on the hippocampus. Here, we examined the hypothesis that the BLA exerts its modulatory effect by regulating the expression of immediate-early genes (IEGs) in the hippocampus. The main findings of these experiments were: (1) Arc activity-regulated cytoskeletal protein (Arc), an immediate-early gene (also termed Arg 3.1) and c-fos mRNA are induced in the hippocampus after a context exposure, or context plus shock experience, but not after an immediate shock; and (2) BLA inactivation with muscimol attenuated the increase in Arc and c-fos mRNA in the hippocampus associated with contextual fear conditioning but did not influence Arc mRNA associated with context exploration. These results support the hypothesis that the amygdala modulates contextual fear memory by regulating expression of IEGs in the hippocampus.
Project description:Neuronal immediate-early gene (IEG) expression is regulated by synaptic activity and plays an important role in the neuroplastic mechanisms critical to memory consolidation. IEGs can be divided into two functional classes: (1) regulatory transcription factors (RTFs), which can broadly influence cell function depending on the "downstream" genes they regulate, and (2) "effector" proteins, which may directly modulate specific cellular functions. The objective of the current study was to determine whether the expression of an effector IEG (Arc) was similar to, or different from, that of two well characterized RTF IEGs (c-fos and zif268) after learning. IEG RNA levels from rats trained in spatial and nonspatial water tasks were determined using RNase protection assays and in situ hybridization. Overall, the regulation of the three IEGs was similar in the hippocampus and the entorhinal and primary visual cortices. Consequently, IEG RNA levels were positively correlated within a structure. By contrast, Arc and zif268 RNA levels were not correlated or only weakly correlated across structures, although c-fos RNA levels were moderately correlated across structures. Arc RNA expression differed from that of zif268 and c-fos in two regards: (1) hippocampal Arc RNA levels were correlated with learning of the hippocampal-dependent spatial, but not hippocampal-independent cued response, water task, and (2) Arc RNA levels in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex increased after spatial reversal learning relative to an asymptotic performance group. Thus, although the expression of Arc, zif268, and c-fos exhibited many similarities, Arc was most responsive to differences in behavioral task demands.
Project description:Arsenic exposure has been reported to cause neoplastic transformation through the activation of PcG proteins. In the present study, we show that activation of p38? mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is required for arsenic-induced neoplastic transformation. Exposure of cells to 0.5 ?M arsenic increased CRE and c-Fos promoter activities that were accompanied by increases in p38? MAPK and CREB phosphorylation and expression levels concurrently with AP-1 activation. Introduction of short hairpin (sh) RNA-p38? into BALB/c 3T3 cells markedly suppressed arsenic-induced colony formation compared with wildtype cells. CREB phosphorylation and AP-1 activation were decreased in p38? knockdown cells after arsenic treatment. Arsenic-induced AP-1 activation, measured as c-Fos and CRE promoter activities, and CREB phosphorylation were attenuated by p38 inhibition in BALB/c 3T3 cells. Thus, p38? MAPK activation is required for arsenic-induced neoplastic transformation mediated through CREB phosphorylation and AP-1 activation.
Project description:A wide range of growth factors encode information into specific temporal patterns of MAP kinase (MAPK) and CREB phosphorylation, which are further decoded by expression of immediate early gene products (IEGs) to exert biological functions. However, the IEG decoding system remain unknown. We built a data-driven based on time courses of MAPK and CREB phosphorylation and IEG expression in response to various growth factors to identify how signal is processed. We found that IEG expression uses common decoding systems regardless of growth factors and expression of each IEG differs in upstream dependency, switch-like response, and linear temporal filters. Pulsatile ERK phosphorylation was selectively decoded by expression of EGR1 rather than c-FOS. Conjunctive NGF and PACAP stimulation was selectively decoded by synergistic JUNB expression through switch-like response to c-FOS. Thus, specific temporal patterns and combinations of MAPKs and CREB phosphorylation can be decoded by selective IEG expression via distinct temporal filters and switch-like responses. The data-driven modeling is versatile for analysis of signal processing and does not require detailed prior knowledge of pathways.