Transcription Factors CREB and NF-kB: Involvement in Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Formation

NF-κB in Neurons-Mechanisms and Myths

Author(s): Steven W. Barger and Xianrong R. Mao

Pp: 113-129 (17)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805257811201010113

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The transcriptional activation of specific genes by transciption factor proteins is an important factor in the determination of cell-type specific patterns of gene expression. In one form or another, transcription factors comprising the Rel-family of proteins (responsible for the activity referred to as “NF-κB”) are present in every cell type examined. However, studies of NF-κB often rely solely on a single endpoint (e.g., nuclear translocation) as an index of activation. Careful examination of CNS neuronal populations indicates that the initial components of NF-κB activation, up to and including nuclear translocation, are often dissociated from transcriptional activation. Indeed, there are few, if any, circumstances in which classical transcriptional activation by NF-κB has been documented in CNS neurons. In addition to the mechanistic intrigue this disjunction inspires, it is possible that this phenomenon contributes to important cell-type specificity distinguishing neurons from other cell types. It also suggests several implications for pharmacotherapeutic manipulation of NF-κB in the CNS.

Keywords: Artifact, cell culture, Glia, neurons, nuclear factor kappa B, rel family, reporter gene, specificity protein transcription factor (Sp1), specificity protein 4 transcription factor (Sp4), transcription.

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