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

Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression in learning by the neuronal ELAV-like mRNA-stabilizing proteins.

The view that memory is encoded by variations in the strength of synapses implies that long-term biochemical changes take place within subcellular microdomains of neurons. These changes are thought ultimately to be an effect of transcriptional regulation of specific genes. Localized changes, however, cannot be fully explained by a purely transcriptional control of gene expression. The neuron-specific ELAV-like HuB, HuC, and HuD RNA-binding proteins act posttranscriptionally by binding to adenine- and uridine-rich elements (AREs) in the 3' untranslated region of a set of target mRNAs, and by increasing mRNA cytoplasmic stability and/or rate of translation. Here we show that neuronal ELAV-like genes undergo a sustained up-regulation in hippocampal pyramidal cells only of mice and rats that have learned a spatial discrimination paradigm. This learning-specific increase of ELAV-like proteins was localized within cytoplasmic compartments of the somata and proximal dendrites and was associated with the cytoskeleton. This increase was also accompanied by enhanced expression of the GAP-43 gene, known to be regulated mainly posttranscriptionally and whose mRNA is demonstrated here to be an in vivo ELAV-like target. Antisense-mediated knockdown of HuC impaired spatial learning performance in mice and induced a concomitant down-regulation of GAP-43 expression. Neuronal ELAV-like proteins could exert learning-induced posttranscriptional control of an array of target genes uniquely suited to subserve substrates of memory storage.[1]


  1. Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression in learning by the neuronal ELAV-like mRNA-stabilizing proteins. Quattrone, A., Pascale, A., Nogues, X., Zhao, W., Gusev, P., Pacini, A., Alkon, D.L. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2001) [Pubmed]
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