Molecular characterization of the injury-induced aromatase transcript in the adult zebra finch brain

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In the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata), the aromatase gene is transcribed from one of two promoters resulting in two transcripts constitutively expressed in brain or ovary. These transcripts differ only in Exon 1 which lies in the 5′ un-translated region (UTR). An inducible form of aromatase is expressed following brain injury in glia. Towards characterizing this transcript, we (a) examined the up-regulation of amplicons within the aromatase transcript using quantitative PCR (qPCR), (b) performed 5′ and 3′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) on injured brain RNA and (c) sequenced the injury-induced aromatase transcript. qPCR suggested that inducible aromatase may contain a novel 3′UTR. However, neither 3′ nor 5′ RACE revealed novel UTRs in the injured telencephalon. We then sequenced aromatase from injured entopallium, a region that lacks detectable constitutive aromatase. Inducible aromatase was identical in sequence to the known neural aromatase transcript. These data suggest that injury-induced aromatase differs from ovarian, but is indistinguishable from neuronal aromatase. We suggest that an injury-specific signal in glia may modulate aromatase transcription. Alternatively, injury-induced aromatase transcription may be silenced under constitutive conditions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that documents the sequence of inducible aromatase in any vertebrate.

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