Neuronal Activity Regulates the Nuclear Proteome to Promote Activity-Dependent Transcription
The formation and plasticity of neuronal circuits relies on dynamic activity-dependent gene expression. While recent work has revealed the identity of important transcriptional regulators and of genes that are transcribed and translated in response to activity, relatively little is known about the cell biological mechanisms by which activity alters the nuclear proteome of neurons to link neuronal stimulation to transcription. Using nucleus-specific proteomic mapping in silenced and stimulated neurons, we uncovered an understudied mechanism of nuclear proteome regulation: activity-dependent proteasome-mediated degradation. We found that the tumor suppressor protein PDCD4 undergoes rapid stimulus-induced degradation in the nucleus of neurons. We demonstrate that degradation of PDCD4 is required for normal activity-dependent transcription, and that PDCD4 target genes include those encoding proteins critical for synapse formation, remodeling, and transmission. Our findings highlight the importance of the nuclear proteasome in regulating the activity-dependent nuclear proteome, and point to a specific role for PDCD4 as a regulator of activity-dependent transcription in neurons.