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

Cyclic AMP phosphodiesterases in the zebra finch: distribution, cloning and characterization of a PDE4B homolog.

Songbirds are important animal models for studying neural mechanisms underlying learning and memory. While evidence has emerged that cAMP plays a significant role in invertebrate and mammalian learning, little is known about the role of cAMP pathways in regulating neuronal function in birds. With the goal of identifying important components of this pathway, we report the first cloning of a cAMP-specific, Type IV phosphodiesterase (PDE4) in a non-mammalian vertebrate. A combination of PCR analysis and cDNA library screening was used to show that homologs of the four known mammalian PDE4 genes also exist in zebra finch. A full-length cDNA representing the zebra finch homolog of PDE4B1 was isolated from a telencephalic library. Expression of this cDNA in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK) cells yielded an enzyme that hydrolyzed cAMP with a low K(m) and was inhibited by micromolar concentrations of rolipram; these properties are typical of all known mammalian PDE4s. In brain, northern blots revealed transcripts of 3.6 and 4.4 kb in adults, but only the 3.6 kb transcript in juveniles, suggesting that PDE4 expression is developmentally regulated. In situ hybridization of tissue sections demonstrated that PDE4 message was distributed widely throughout the adult zebra finch brain, including regions controlling the learning of songs and the acquisition of spatial memories. These data suggest that PDE4 enzymes may influence a variety of brain functions in these birds and play a role in learning.[1]


  1. Cyclic AMP phosphodiesterases in the zebra finch: distribution, cloning and characterization of a PDE4B homolog. Thompson, B.E., Freking, F., Pho, V., Schlinger, B.A., Cherry, J.A. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. (2000) [Pubmed]
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