Activity-regulated genes as mediators of neural circuit plasticity
Author(s)Leslie, Jennifer H.; Nedivi, Elly
MetadataShow full item record
Modifications of neuronal circuits allow the brain to adapt and change with experience. This plasticity manifests during development and throughout life, and can be remarkably long lasting. Evidence has linked activity-regulated gene expression to the long-term structural and electrophysiological adaptations that take place during developmental critical periods, learning and memory, and alterations to sensory map representations in the adult. In all these cases, the cellular response to neuronal activity integrates multiple tightly coordinated mechanisms to precisely orchestrate long-lasting, functional and structural changes in brain circuits. Experience-dependent plasticity is triggered when neuronal excitation activates cellular signaling pathways from the synapse to the nucleus that initiate new programs of gene expression. The protein products of activity-regulated genes then work via a diverse array of cellular mechanisms to modify neuronal functional properties. Synaptic strengthening or weakening can reweight existing circuit connections, while structural changes including synapse addition and elimination create new connections. Posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms, often also dependent on activity, further modulate activity-regulated gene transcript and protein function. Thus, activity-regulated genes implement varied forms of structural and functional plasticity to fine-tune brain circuit wiring.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Biology; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences; Picower Institute for Learning and Memory
Progress in Neurobiology
Leslie, Jennifer H., and Elly Nedivi. “Activity-Regulated Genes as Mediators of Neural Circuit Plasticity.” Progress in Neurobiology 94, no. 3 (August 2011): 223–237.
Author's final manuscript