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Stress-induced transcriptional regulation in the developing rat brain involves increased cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-regulatory element binding activity.

  • Author(s): Hatalski, CG
  • Baram, TZ
  • et al.
Abstract

The cAMP-regulatory element (CRE) binding protein (CREB) functions as a trans-acting regulator of genes containing the CRE sequence in their promoter. These include a number of critical genes, such as CRF, involved in the hypothalamic response to stressful stimuli in the adult. The ability of the developing rat (during the first 2 postnatal weeks) to mount the full complement of this stress response has been questioned. We have previously demonstrated the stress-induced up-regulation of the transcription of hypothalamic CRF during the second postnatal week in the rat. The focus of the current study was to explore the mechanism of transcriptional regulation in response to stress through the physiological induction of transcriptional trans-activators that bind to the CRE in the developing rat brain. CRE-binding activity was detected via gel shift analysis in extracts from both the hypothalamus and the cerebral cortex of the developing rat. CREB was identified in these extracts by Western blot analysis and was shown to be the major contributor to the CRE-binding activity by gel shift analysis with two specific antibodies directed against CREB. After acute hypothermic stress, the abundance of CRE-binding activity (but not of total immunoreactive CREB), increased in hypothalamic extracts. This enhanced CRE-binding activity was blocked by an antiserum directed against CREB and was accompanied by an apparent increase in CREB phosphorylation. These results indicate that posttranslational enhancement of CRE-binding activity is likely to constitute an important mechanism for up-regulation of genes possessing the CRE sequence in the developing rat hypothalamus by adverse external signals.

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