N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors activate transcription of c-fos and NGFI-A by distinct phospholipase A2-requiring intracellular signaling pathways.
Activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors is required for induction of some lasting changes in nervous system structure and function. The cellular mechanisms involved in transducing receptor stimulation into long-lasting changes in cellular activity are unknown. Immediate-early genes (IEGs) have been implicated in the conversion of short term stimuli to long term changes in cellular phenotype, by regulation of gene expression. Activation of NMDA receptors on dentate gyrus neurons triggers the transcriptional activation of several IEGs. To determine whether the same intracellular pathways transduce the signal from this ligand-gated ion channel to the nucleus, we compared NMDA induction of two IEGs. NMDA was sufficient to produce a striking increase in both c-fos and NGFI-A mRNAs in dentate granule neurons, in a calcium-dependent manner. The induction of both IEGs was blocked by structurally distinct inhibitors of phospholipase A2, an enzyme that catalyzes phospholipid degradation and formation of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid itself is catalyzed to biologically active metabolites by multiple enzymes, including cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase. Selective inhibitors of cyclooxygenase attenuated NMDA induction of c-fos but not NGFI-A. Conversely, structurally distinct inhibitors of lipoxygenase blocked NMDA induction of NGFI-A but not c-fos. The signaling pathways linking NMDA receptors to the transcriptional activation of c-fos and NGFI-A are related but distinct. We suggest that phospholipase A2 and the arachidonic acid cascade play a pivotal role in NMDA receptor regulation of gene expression.
Lerea, LS; Carlson, NG; McNamara, JO
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