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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Rapid phosphorylation of Elk-1 transcription factor and activation of MAP kinase signal transduction pathways in response to visual stimulation.

The AP-1 transcription factor, which is composed of various combinations of Fos and Jun proteins, is believed to be a key participant in molecular processes that guide activity-dependent changes in gene expression. In this study, we investigated the activity of different MAP kinases that have been implicated in AP-1 activation. We examined the activities of ERK, JNK/SAPK, and p38 MAPK along with their nuclear targets (Elk-1 and c-Jun) in rat visual cortex after light stimulation. The transcription factor Elk-1 (a possible regulator of c-fos expression) was found to be transiently modified by phosphorylation when visual stimulation was applied after a period of dark rearing. In vitro kinase assay with Elk-1 as substrate showed that light stimulation activated MAPK/ERK in visual cortex but not frontal cortex. Furthermore, ERK activation was temporally matched to onset of Elk-1 phosphorylation. The activity of JNK1 (c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1) was elevated at 2-6 h after visual exposure and was also temporally correlated to increase of endogenous P-c-Jun levels and its appearance within the AP-1 DNA-binding complex. The activities of p38 MAP kinases did not change significantly. These results demonstrate the differential engagement of MAPK signaling pathways following sensory stimulation and their relative effects upon AP-1 expression in the intact brain.[1]


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