40 As for CREB, numerous target genes for ΔFosB have been identif

40 As for CREB, numerous target genes for ΔFosB have been identified in NAc by use of candidate gene and genome-wide approaches.10,32 While CREB induces dynorphin, ΔFosB suppresses it, which contributes to ΔFosB’s pro-reward effects.38 Another ΔFosB target is cFos: as ΔFosB accumulates with repeated drug exposure it represses c-Fos and contributes to the molecular switch whereby ΔFosB is selectively

induced in the chronic drug-treated state.41 Many other ΔFosB targets have been shown to mediate the Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical ability of certain drugs of abuse to induce synaptic plasticity in the NAc and associated changes in the dendritic arborization of NAc medium spiny neurons, as will be discussed below. The functional consequences of ΔFosB induction in other brain regions is less well understood,

although its induction in orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) has been studied in some detail. Here, ΔFosB mediates tolerance that occurs to the cognitive-disrupting effects of cocaine during a course of chronic exposure, and this adaptation is associated Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical with increased cocaine self-administration.42,43 Genome-wide assays have suggested several potential target genes that mediate these effects.42 Despite ΔFosB’s unique temporal properties, and the knowledge that it is induced in traditional memory circuits (eg, hippocampus), there has not yet been an exploration of the role of ΔFosB in behavioral memory, an interesting subject for future research. Epigenetic mechanisms In more recent years, studies of transcription have been pushed one step further Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical to epigenetics44 (see Figure 1), which can be broadly defined as a change in gene expression that occurs in the absence of a change in DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms control the packaging of DNA within a cell nucleus via its interactions with histones and many other types of nuclear proteins, which together comprise chromatin. Gene Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical expression is controlled by the state of this packaging through the covalent modification of histones, other proteins, and DNA itself.

As just some examples, acetylation of histones tends to promote gene activation, methylation of histones can either promote gene activation Brefeldin_A or repression depending on the Lys residue undergoing this modification, and methylation of DNA is Seliciclib msds generally associated with gene repression although certain variant forms of methylation (eg, selleck compound 5-hydroxymethylation) may be associated with gene activation. Epigenetics is an appealing mechanism because, in other systems, for example, developmental and cancer biology, certain epigenetic modifications can be permanent. For this reason, epigenetics has been pursued both in learning and memory models (eg, refs 45-48) as well as in addiction;44,49 in both systems profound changes have been reported in histone acetylation and methylation and in DNA methylation. As just one example, the histone methyltransferase, G9a, is implicated in both memory50 and addiction.

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