Cellular distribution of the NMDA-receptor activated synapto-nuclear messenger Jacob in the rat brain

Brain Struct Funct. 2014 May;219(3):843-60. doi: 10.1007/s00429-013-0539-1. Epub 2013 Mar 29.


In previous work, we found that the protein messenger Jacob is involved in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) signaling to the nucleus and cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) mediated gene expression in hippocampal primary neurons. Particularly, extrasynaptic NMDAR activation drives Jacob efficiently into the nucleus where it then induces gene expression that promotes neurodegeneration. However, the protein also translocates to the nucleus in CA1 neurons after Schaffer collateral long-term potentiation (LTP) but not long-term depression (LTD), suggesting that Jacob might be involved in hippocampal and LTP-dependent learning and memory processes. Not much is known about the cellular and subcellular distribution of the protein in brain. In this paper, we provide an overview of the expression of Jacob in rat brain with special emphasis on the hippocampus. We show that Jacob is abundant in hippocampal pyramidal neurons and interneurons but absent from astrocytes and microglia. Interestingly, we found that Jacob is also present in mossy fiber axons. Double immunofluorescence confocal laser scans with presynaptic markers demonstrate that Jacob is indeed found at excitatory but not inhibitory presynaptic sites. Accordingly, we found no substantial co-localization of Jacob with a postsynaptic marker of inhibitory synapses, gephyrin. In contrast, almost all postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95) positive excitatory postsynaptic sites also exhibited strong Jacob-immunofluorescence. Taken together, these data support a synaptic and nuclear role of Jacob that implicates long-distance NMDAR signaling to the nucleus in excitatory neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nsmf protein, rat
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate