Brain synapses contain inducible forms of the transcription factor NF-kappa B

Mech Dev. 1993 Oct;43(2-3):135-47. doi: 10.1016/0925-4773(93)90031-r.


We investigated the rat brain for the presence and activation state of the inducible transcription factor NF-kappa B. Two forms of NF-kappa B containing the transactivating p65 subunit were found in all brain regions investigated. The majority of NF-kappa B was in an inducible cytoplasmic form by virtue of its association with the inhibitory subunit I kappa B. Significant amounts of inducible NF-kappa B forms were present in synaptosomes, as suggested by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and Western blot analysis of subcellular brain fractions. A synaptic localization of NF-kappa B was further evident from immunostaining of inner and outer plexiform layers of the retina with an antibody directed against the p50 subunit of NF-kappa B. In cerebral cortex and striatum, NF-kappa B-specific antibodies showed a punctate immunostaining partially overlapping with that for the synaptic marker protein synaptophysin. NF-kappa B is thus the first transcription factor found in synapses of neurons. With its unusual subneuronal localization, the inducible transcription factor has the potential to function as retrograde messenger mediating stimulus-response coupling and long-term changes in gene expression following presynaptic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain Chemistry / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electrophoresis
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NF-kappa B / analysis*
  • NF-kappa B / biosynthesis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retina / chemistry
  • Synapses / chemistry*
  • Synaptosomes / chemistry


  • NF-kappa B
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins