Regulation and function of immediate-early genes in the brain: beyond neuronal activity markers

Neurosci Res. 2011 Mar;69(3):175-86. doi: 10.1016/j.neures.2010.12.007. Epub 2010 Dec 14.


Long lasting forms of synaptic plasticity and long-term memory formation require new mRNA and protein synthesis. While activity-dependent expression of immediate-early genes has long been thought to account for such critical de novo macromolecular synthesis, experimental proof has been scarce until recently. During the past few decades, a growing number of genetic and molecular biological studies have started to elucidate essential roles of immediate-early genes in synaptic plasticity and cognitive functions. I here present an overview of the history and recent work on regulation and function of neuronal immediate-early genes, including Arc/arg3.1. This review provides a conceptual framework in which various immediate-early genes underlie several distinct processes required for long-term synaptic changes and memory formation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Genes, Immediate-Early / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / physiology