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

Upregulation of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) by intrinsic CNS neurons regenerating axons into peripheral nerve grafts.

The expression of the transcription factor ATF3 in the brain was examined by immunohistochemistry during axonal regeneration induced by the implantation of pieces of peripheral nerve into the thalamus of adult rats. After 3 days, ATF3 immunoreactivity was present in many cells within approximately 500 mum of the graft. In addition, ATF3-positive cell nuclei were found in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) and medial geniculate nuclear complex (MGN), from which most regenerating axons originate. CNS cells with ATF3-positive nuclei were predominantly neurons and did not show signs of apoptosis. The number of ATF3-positive cells had declined by 7 days and further by 1 month after grafting when most ATF3-positive cells were found in the TRN and MGN. 14 days or more after grafting, some ATF3-positive nuclei were distorted and may have been apoptotic. In some experiments of 1 month duration, neurons which had regenerated axons to the distal ends of grafts were retrogradely labeled with DiAsp. ATF3-positive neurons in these animals were located in regions of the TRN and MGN containing retrogradely labeled neurons and the great majority were also labeled with DiAsp. SCG10 and c-Jun were found in neurons in the same regions as retrogradely labeled and ATF3-positive cells. Thus, ATF3 is transiently upregulated by injured CNS neurons, but prolonged expression is part of the pattern of gene expression associated with axonal regeneration. The co-expression of ATF3 with c-jun suggests that interactions between these transcription factors may be important for controlling the program of gene expression necessary for regeneration.[1]


  1. Upregulation of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) by intrinsic CNS neurons regenerating axons into peripheral nerve grafts. Campbell, G., Hutchins, K., Winterbottom, J., Grenningloh, G., Lieberman, A.R., Anderson, P.N. Exp. Neurol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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