NF-κB in Neurons-Mechanisms and Myths
Pp. 113-129 (17)
Steven W. Barger and Xianrong R. Mao
The transcriptional activation of specific genes by transciption factor proteins is an important factor in
the determination of cell-type specific patterns of gene expression. In one form or another, transcription factors
comprising the Rel-family of proteins (responsible for the activity referred to as “NF-κB”) are present in every
cell type examined. However, studies of NF-κB often rely solely on a single endpoint (e.g., nuclear translocation)
as an index of activation. Careful examination of CNS neuronal populations indicates that the initial components
of NF-κB activation, up to and including nuclear translocation, are often dissociated from transcriptional
activation. Indeed, there are few, if any, circumstances in which classical transcriptional activation by NF-κB has
been documented in CNS neurons. In addition to the mechanistic intrigue this disjunction inspires, it is possible
that this phenomenon contributes to important cell-type specificity distinguishing neurons from other cell types. It
also suggests several implications for pharmacotherapeutic manipulation of NF-κB in the CNS.
Artifact, cell culture, Glia, neurons, nuclear factor kappa B, rel family, reporter gene, specificity protein
transcription factor (Sp1), specificity protein 4 transcription factor (Sp4), transcription.
Department of Geriatrics, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock AR, 72205 USA and Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare, System, Little Rock AR 72205 USA.