DeltaFosB: a molecular switch for long-term adaptation in the brain

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2004 Dec 20;132(2):146-54. doi: 10.1016/j.molbrainres.2004.05.014.


DeltaFosB is a unique transcription factor that plays an essential role in long-term adaptive changes in the brain associated with diverse conditions, such as drug addiction, Parkinson's disease, depression, and antidepressant treatment. It is induced in brain, in a region- and cell-type-specific manner by many types of chronic perturbations. Once induced, it persists for long periods of time due to its unusual stability. The transcriptional effects of DeltaFosB are complex, because the protein can function as both a transcriptional activator and repressor. Progress has been made in identifying specific target genes for DeltaFosB and in relating some of these genes to DeltaFosB's cellular and behavioral actions. Future studies will help us to better understand the biochemical basis of DeltaFosB's unique stability, as well as the precise molecular pathways through which this transcription factor produces its complex effects on neuronal plasticity and complex behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Fosb protein, rat
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Transcription Factors