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    Maintenance of long-term synaptic plasticity requires gene expression mediated by cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB). Gene expression driven by CREB can commence only if the inhibition by a transcriptional repressor activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4; also known as CREB2) is relieved. Previous research showed that the removal of ATF4 occurs through ubiquitin-proteasome-mediated proteolysis. Using chemically induced hippocampal long-term potentiation (cLTP) as a model system, we investigate the mechanisms that control ATF4 degradation. We observed that ATF4 phosphorylated at serine-219 increases upon induction of cLTP and decreases about 30 min thereafter. Proteasome inhibitor β-lactone prevents the decrease in ATF4. We found that the phosphorylation of ATF4 is mediated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Our initial experiments towards the identification of the ligase that mediates ubiquitination of ATF4 revealed a possible role for β-transducin repeat containing protein (β-TrCP). Regulation of ATF4 degradation is likely to be a mechanism for determining the threshold for gene expression underlying maintenance of long-term synaptic plasticity and by extension, long-term memory.


    Spencer G Smith, Kathryn A Haynes, Ashok N Hegde. Degradation of Transcriptional Repressor ATF4 during Long-Term Synaptic Plasticity. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Nov 12;21(22)

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    PMID: 33198401

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