The dusp1 immediate early gene is regulated by natural stimuli predominantly in sensory input neurons.

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2010-07-15

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Abstract

Many immediate early genes (IEGs) have activity-dependent induction in a subset of brain subdivisions or neuron types. However, none have been reported yet with regulation specific to thalamic-recipient sensory neurons of the telencephalon or in the thalamic sensory input neurons themselves. Here, we report the first such gene, dual specificity phosphatase 1 (dusp1). Dusp1 is an inactivator of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), and MAPK activates expression of egr1, one of the most commonly studied IEGs, as determined in cultured cells. We found that in the brain of naturally behaving songbirds and other avian species, hearing song, seeing visual stimuli, or performing motor behavior caused high dusp1 upregulation, respectively, in auditory, visual, and somatosensory input cell populations of the thalamus and thalamic-recipient sensory neurons of the telencephalic pallium, whereas high egr1 upregulation occurred only in subsequently connected secondary and tertiary sensory neuronal populations of these same pathways. Motor behavior did not induce high levels of dusp1 expression in the motor-associated areas adjacent to song nuclei, where egr1 is upregulated in response to movement. Our analysis of dusp1 expression in mouse brain suggests similar regulation in the sensory input neurons of the thalamus and thalamic-recipient layer IV and VI neurons of the cortex. These findings suggest that dusp1 has specialized regulation to sensory input neurons of the thalamus and telencephalon; they further suggest that this regulation may serve to attenuate stimulus-induced expression of egr1 and other IEGs, leading to unique molecular properties of forebrain sensory input neurons.

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10.1002/cne.22370

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Horita, Haruhito, Kazuhiro Wada, Miriam V Rivas, Erina Hara and Erich D Jarvis (2010). The dusp1 immediate early gene is regulated by natural stimuli predominantly in sensory input neurons. J Comp Neurol, 518(14). pp. 2873–2901. 10.1002/cne.22370 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11258.

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Jarvis

Erich David Jarvis

Adjunct Professor in the Deptartment of Neurobiology

Dr. Jarvis' laboratory studies the neurobiology of vocal communication. Emphasis is placed on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations. They use an integrative approach that combines behavioral, anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques. The main animal model used is songbirds, one of the few vertebrate groups that evolved the ability to learn vocalizations. The generality of the discoveries is tested in other vocal learning orders, such as parrots and hummingbirds, as well as non-vocal learners, such as pigeons and non-human primates. Some of the questions require performing behavior/molecular biology experiments in freely ranging animals, such as hummingbirds in tropical forest of Brazil. Recent results show that in songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds, perception and production of song are accompanied by anatomically distinct patterns of gene expression. All three groups were found to exhibit vocally-activated gene expression in exactly 7 forebrain nuclei that are very similar to each other. These structures for vocal learning and production are thought to have evolved independently within the past 70 million years, since they are absent from interrelated non-vocal learning orders. One structure, Area X of the basal ganglia's striatum in songbirds, shows large differential gene activation depending on the social context in which the bird sings. These differences may reflect a semantic content of song, perhaps similar to human language.

The overall goal of the research is to advance knowledge of the neural mechanisms for vocal learning and basic mechanisms of brain function. These goals are further achieved by combined collaborative efforts with the laboratories of Drs. Mooney and Nowicki at Duke University, who study respectively behavior and electrophysiological aspects of songbird vocal communication.


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