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Molecular approaches for studying astrocytes

  • Todd Fiacco
  • Kristi Casper
  • Elizabeth Sweger
  • Cendra Agulhon
  • Sarah Taves
  • Suzanne Kurtzer-Minton
  • Ken D. McCarthy
Chapter

14.1 Introduction

In the year 2007, literally hundreds of research papers were published that utilize molecular approaches to study the role of astrocytes in neurophysiology and neurological disorders. This is striking given that the molecular tools for selectively perturbing gene expression in astrocytes were developed just over a decade ago. Two investigators stand out as pioneers in this area, Drs. Michael Brenner and Albee Messing. While at National Institutes of Health, Mike Brenner carried out studies mapping the transcriptional regulatory elements of the promoter for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) (Masood et al., 1993), an intermediate filament protein expressed exclusively by mature astrocytes in the CNS. This information was absolutely essential in order to develop a regulatory unit (promoter) small enough to be handled by the molecular techniques available in the early 1990s and yet sufficient to target expression constructs to astrocytes in vivo and in vitro. In...

Keywords

Spinal Cord Injury Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Gene Cassette loxP Site Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Promoter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

ATP

Adenosine 5′-triphosphate

BAC

Bacteria artificial chromosome

cKO

Conditional gene knockout

Cx43

Connexin 43

eGFP

Enhanced green fluorescent protein

ERT2

Mutated estrogen receptor

GDNF

Glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor

GFAP

Glial fibrillary acidic protein

Gjc

Gap junction communication

GLAST

l-glutamate/l-aspartate transporter

GLT-1

Glial l-glutamate transporter

GPCR

G-protein coupled receptor

hGFAP

Human GFAP

IGF-1

Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

mEPSC

Miniature excitatory postsynaptic current

NF-κB

Nuclear factor kappa B

NMDA

N-methyl-d-aspartate

PAC

P1-bacteriophage artificial chromosome

RASSL

Receptor activated solely by synthetic ligand

SNARE

The soluble N-ethyl maleimide-sensitive fusion protein attachment protein receptor

Tet

Tetracycline

tetO

tet operon

tTA

tet transactivator

YAC

Yeast artificial chromosome

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Todd Fiacco
    • 1
  • Kristi Casper
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Sweger
    • 1
  • Cendra Agulhon
    • 1
  • Sarah Taves
    • 1
  • Suzanne Kurtzer-Minton
    • 1
  • Ken D. McCarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillUSA

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