Stimulus-transcription coupling in neurons: role of cellular immediate-early genes

Trends Neurosci. 1989 Nov;12(11):459-62. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(89)90096-9.


Excitation of neurons results in a series of finely orchestrated responses that occur over a time frame ranging from fractions of a second to hours or days. In the short term, stimulation evokes an array of biochemical and biophysical events that represent the execution of the neurophysiological phenotype of a particular cell. These processes, which contribute to the overall behavior of a neural circuit, do not require de novo protein synthesis. In contrast, stimulation is also linked to long-term phenotypic changes that require alterations in gene expression. Thus, one or more mechanisms must exist that couple cell-surface stimuli to the transcriptional regulatory apparatus of the neuron. In this article James Morgan and Tom Curran detail a stimulus-transcription coupling cascade, involving the products of the proto-oncogenes, c-fos and c-jun, that operates in many cell types including neurons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / analysis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogenes / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins