Long-lasting forms of synaptic plasticity such as synaptic scaling are critically dependent on transcription. Activity-dependent transcriptional dynamics in neurons, however, remain incompletely characterized because most previous efforts relied on measurement of steady-state mRNAs. Here, we use nascent RNA sequencing to profile transcriptional dynamics of primary neuron cultures undergoing network activity shifts. We find pervasive transcriptional changes, in which ∼45% of expressed genes respond to network activity shifts. We further link retinoic acid-induced 1 (RAI1), the Smith-Magenis syndrome gene, to the transcriptional program driven by reduced network activity. Remarkable agreement among nascent transcriptomes, dynamic chromatin occupancy of RAI1, and electrophysiological properties of Rai1-deficient neurons demonstrates the essential roles of RAI1 in suppressing synaptic upscaling in the naive network, while promoting upscaling triggered by activity silencing. These results highlight the utility of bona fide transcription profiling to discover mechanisms of activity-dependent chromatin remodeling that underlie normal and pathological synaptic plasticity.
Keywords: Bru-seq; RAI1; Smith-Magenis Syndrome; activity-dependent transcription; chromatin regulation; nascent RNA; neurodevelopmental disorders; synaptic scaling.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.