The immediate early gene c-fos has long been known as a molecular marker of neural activity. The neuron's activity is transformed into intracellular calcium influx through NMDA receptors and L-type voltage sensitive calcium channels. For the transcription of c-fos, neural activity should be strong enough to activate mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway which shows low calcium sensitivity. Upon translation, the auto-inhibition by Fos protein regulates basal Fos expression. The pattern of external stimuli and the valence of the stimulus to the animal change Fos signal, thus the signal reflects learning and memory aspects. Understanding the features of multiple components regulating Fos signaling is necessary for the optimal generation and interpretation of Fos signal.
Keywords: Fos; c-fos; neuron.