Naturally occurring oscillations in glucocorticoids induce a cyclic activation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), a well-characterized ligand-activated transcription factor. These cycles of GR activation/deactivation result in rapid GR exchange at genomic response elements and GR recycling through the chaperone machinery, ultimately generating pulses of GR-mediated transcriptional activity of target genes. In a recent article we have discussed the implications of circadian and high-frequency (ultradian) glucocorticoid oscillations for the dynamic control of gene expression in hippocampal neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) (Fitzsimons et al., Front. Neuroendocrinol., 2016). Interestingly, this oscillatory transcriptional activity is common to other transcription factors, many of which regulate key biological functions in NSPCs, such as NF-kB, p53, Wnt and Notch. Here, we discuss the oscillatory behavior of these transcription factors, their role in a biologically accurate target regulation and the potential importance for a dynamic control of transcription activity and gene expression in NSPCs.
Keywords: glucocorticoid receptor; glucocorticoids; neural stem cells; oscillations; transcription factor.