Activity-dependent Gene Transcription in Neurons: Defining the Plasticity Transcriptome

  • Alison L. Barth
  • Lina Yassin


Transcription and translation are required for consolidation of long-lasting changes in synaptic function and are required for learning and memory. The targets of activity-dependent transcription in neurons have been of great interest. Despite this, the ultimate consequences of an activity-dependent change in programs of gene expression with respect to neural function have been surprisingly elusive. For example, experimental data have not clearly established how gene expression is required for memory-associated events, such as synapse-specific strengthening or changes in the input-output function of the neuron. Many activity-regulated genes are transcriptional factors which themselves modify programs of downstream gene expression, and the short- and long-term consequences of these changes in gene expression remain largely unknown. Although there have been many complementary approaches to experimentally and computationally define the plasticity transcriptome, the specific gene targets that have been identified using different experimental approaches show surprisingly little overlap. The purpose of this review is three-fold: 1) to discuss what is known about activity-dependent transcription during learning, 2) to review efforts to identify genes in the plasticity transcriptome, and 3) to develop a hypothesis about how transcription might be required for information coding at the synaptic and cellular level.


Monocular Deprivation Dependent Gene Expression Silent Synapse CREB Binding Site CREB Target Gene 
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  • Alison L. Barth
  • Lina Yassin

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