Activity-dependent expression of ELAV/Hu RBPs and neuronal mRNAs in seizure and cocaine brain

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Growing evidence indicates that both seizure (glutamate) and cocaine (dopamine) treatment modulate synaptic plasticity within the mesolimbic region of the CNS. Activation of glutamatergic neurons depends on the localized translation of neuronal mRNA products involved in modulating synaptic plasticity. In this study, we demonstrate the dendritic localization of HuR and HuD RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) and their association with neuronal mRNAs following these two paradigms of seizure and cocaine treatment. Both the ubiquitously expressed HuR and neuronal HuD RBPs were detected in different regions as well as within dendrites of the brain and in dissociated neurons. Quantitative analysis revealed an increase in HuR, HuD and p-glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) protein levels as well as neuronal mRNAs encoding Homer, CaMKIIα, vascular early response gene, GAP-43, neuritin, and neuroligin protein products following either seizure or cocaine treatment. Inhibition of the Akt/GSK3β signaling pathway by acute or chronic LiCl treatment revealed changes in HuR, HuD, pGSK3β, p-Akt, and β-catenin protein levels. In addition, a genetically engineered hyperdopaminergic mouse model (dopamine transporter knockout) revealed decreased expression of HuR protein levels, but no significant change was observed in HuD or fragile-X mental retardation protein RBPs. Finally, our data suggest that HuR and HuD RBPs potentially interact directly with neuronal mRNAs important for differentiation and synaptic plasticity.

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