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Counter-regulation of the AP-1 monomers pATF2 and Fos: Molecular readjustment of brainstem neurons in hearing and deaf adult rats after electrical intracochlear stimulation

, : Counter-regulation of the AP-1 monomers pATF2 and Fos: Molecular readjustment of brainstem neurons in hearing and deaf adult rats after electrical intracochlear stimulation. Neuroscience 313: 184-198

Expression of the immediate-early gene fos (also known as c-fos) and phosphorylation of the product of the early response gene atf2 (pATF2) in the adult auditory brainstem can be modulated by electrical intracochlear stimulation. The Fos and pATF2 proteins are competitive monomers of the heterodimeric activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor that triggers the expression of genes related to neural plasticity. Our previous findings showed that the stimulation-induced spatio-temporal pattern of Fos expression in the adult auditory system depends on hearing experience. In this study, we aimed to identify a possible correlation of pATF2 and Fos expression. Adult normal hearing and neonatally deafened rats were unilaterally stimulated with a cochlear implant (CI) for 45 min, 73 min, or 2h. The numbers of Fos- and pATF2-positive neurons in the anteroventral cochlear nucleus (AVCN), the lateral superior olive (LSO), and the central inferior colliculus (CIC) were evaluated. Following stimulation, an increased Fos expression was demonstrated in all these regions in hearing and deaf rats. However, in neonatally deafened rats, significantly more Fos-positive neurons emerged that did not obey a tonotopic order. Independent of hearing experience, Fos expression correlated with a locally matching decrease of pATF2 expression in AVCN and LSO, but not in CIC. We suggest that these changes in gene expression result in a shift of AP-1 dimer composition from ATF2:Jun to Fos:Jun. This change in AP-1 constellation is expected to invoke different transcriptional cascades leading to distinct modes of tissue reorganization and plasticity responses in the mature central auditory system under stimulation.


PMID: 26601778

DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2015.11.025

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