How necessary is the activation of the immediate early gene zif268 in synaptic plasticity and learning?

Behav Brain Res. 2003 Jun 16;142(1-2):17-30. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(02)00421-7.


The immediate early genes (IEGs) are activated rapidly and transiently in response to a multitude of stimuli. The zif268 belongs to a category of regulatory IEGs that activate downstream target genes and is considered to be a triggering mechanism to activate the genomic response in neurons. Several studies have shown that zif268 mRNA is upregulated during different forms of associative learning, and following tetanic stimulation that induces long-lasting LTP. To date, there is a general consensus that zif268 activation may constitute a critical mechanism for the encoding of long-lasting memories, however this is based on relatively few studies. Given the fact that zif268 can be activated by a number of different types of stimuli, it becomes important to determine exactly how it may be implicated in memory. Examination of the current literature suggests that zif268 is necessary in the processing of several types of memory, however, it is not entirely clear what aspects of memory zif268 may be implicated in. Here, we review the existing literature and emphasise that understanding the signalling pathways that lead to activation of the IEGs and the downstream targets of these genes will advance our understanding of how functional activation of zif268 may be implicated in processing 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 Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Immediate-Early / genetics
  • Haplorhini
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Immediate-Early Proteins / genetics
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Early Growth Response Protein 1
  • Egr1 protein, mouse
  • Egr1 protein, rat
  • Immediate-Early Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors