The synaptoneurosome transcriptome: a model for profiling the emolecular effects of alcohol

Pharmacogenomics J. 2015 Apr;15(2):177-88. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2014.43. Epub 2014 Aug 19.


Chronic alcohol consumption changes gene expression, likely causing persistent remodeling of synaptic structures via altered translation of mRNAs within synaptic compartments of the cell. We profiled the transcriptome from synaptoneurosomes (SNs) and paired total homogenates (THs) from mouse amygdala following chronic voluntary alcohol consumption. In SN, both the number of alcohol-responsive mRNAs and the magnitude of fold-change were greater than in THs, including many GABA-related mRNAs upregulated in SNs. Furthermore, SN gene co-expression analysis revealed a highly connected network, demonstrating coordinated patterns of gene expression and highlighting alcohol-responsive biological pathways, such as long-term potentiation, long-term depression, glutamate signaling, RNA processing and upregulation of alcohol-responsive genes within neuroimmune modules. Alterations in these pathways have also been observed in the amygdala of human alcoholics. SNs offer an ideal model for detecting intricate networks of coordinated synaptic gene expression and may provide a unique system for investigating therapeutic targets for the treatment of alcoholism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / genetics*
  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / metabolism
  • Amygdala / drug effects
  • Amygdala / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / drug effects*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcriptome / drug effects
  • Transcriptome / genetics*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ethanol
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid