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

The effect of lithium on expression of genes for inositol biosynthetic enzymes in mouse hippocampus; a comparison with the yeast model.

In the de novo synthesis of inositol, the conversion of D-glucose-6-phosphate to L-myo-inositol-1-phosphate ( MIP) is catalyzed by MIP synthase. Little is known about mammalian MIP synthase and nothing is known about its regulation. The second step in inositol biosynthesis is the conversion of MIP to inositol by inositol-monophosphatase (IMPase), a common step to inositol production via the de novo pathway and its recycling from inositol phosphates. Because lithium inhibits IMPase both in yeast and in mammals, and the drug upregulates yeast MIP synthase (INO1) and downregulates IMPase (INM1), the present study was undertaken to determine whether chronic in vivo therapeutic lithium concentrations affect MIP synthase and IMPase expression in mouse frontal cortex and hippocampus. Mice were treated with food containing LiCl (2.5 g/kg) for 10 days. RNA was purified from the brain areas and mRNA amplified using RT-PCR. Expression of MIP synthase and IMPA1 (one of the genes coding for IMPase) but not IMPA2 was upregulated in mouse hippocampus. None of the genes were affected in the frontal cortex. In yeast, when inositol is limiting, the heterodimeric transcriptional activator Ino2p/Ino4p derepresses expression of INO1 by binding to the upstream activation sequence UAS(INO). Using the TFSEARCH program, we found that the promoter of the virtual human MIP synthase gene contains upstream stimulating factor ( USF) elements with a similar core binding sequence. The fact that lithium treatment upregulates both MIP synthase and IMPA1 mRNA levels in mouse hippocampus may reflect a compensatory response of both genes to inositol depletion.[1]


  1. The effect of lithium on expression of genes for inositol biosynthetic enzymes in mouse hippocampus; a comparison with the yeast model. Shamir, A., Shaltiel, G., Greenberg, M.L., Belmaker, R.H., Agam, G. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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