Regulated transcription of the immediate-early gene Zif268: mechanisms and gene dosage-dependent function in synaptic plasticity and memory formation

Hippocampus. 2002;12(5):570-7. doi: 10.1002/hipo.10100.


The immediate-early gene Zif268 is a member of the Egr family of inducible transcription factors. Data from gene expression studies have suggested that this gene may play a critical role in initial triggering of the genetic machinery that has long been considered a necessary mechanism for maintenance of the later phases of LTP and also for the consolidation or stabilization of long-lasting memories. Until recently, however, the data supporting this assumption have been based primarily on circumstantial evidence, with no direct evidence to suggest that Zif268 is required for long-lasting synaptic plasticity and memory. In this report, we review our own data using Zif268 mutant mice; we show that although the early phase of dentate gyrus LTP is normal in these mice, the later phases are not present, and the ability of the mice to maintain learned information over a 24-h period is deficient. In addition, we present new information showing a task-dependent gene dosage effect in Zif268 heterozygous mice. We show that spatial learning is particularly sensitive to reduced levels of Zif268, as one-half of the complement of Zif268 in heterozygous mice is insufficient to maintain spatial long-term memories.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Immediate-Early*
  • Humans
  • Immediate-Early Proteins*
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • EGR1 protein, human
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • Transcription Factors