Elevated AP-1 transcription factor DNA binding activity at the onset of functional plasticity during development of rat sensory cortical areas

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1995 Nov;33(2):295-304. doi: 10.1016/0169-328x(95)00149-m.


The patterns of three transcription factor DNA binding activities, namely AP-1, Octamer and CREB, were examined in barrel and visual cortices of rat brain during early postnatal development, when activity-dependent plasticity of neuronal responses and connectivity was described. Main peak levels of AP-1 DNA binding activity have been observed at 21 days postnatally in both cortical areas. In addition, slightly elevated AP-1 levels were detected at 3-7 postnatal days in the barrel and in the visual cortex. In contrast, Octamer DNA binding activities were at the highest levels in both areas at 7 days postnatally, and CREB DNA binding activities were not appreciably modulated throughout the development. The AP-1 protein complex at 21 days postnatally was composed of JunD, JunB, Fra-2, FosB and to much lesser extent of c-Fos in both cortical areas. Treatment of 21 day old rats with MK-801, an NMDA receptor antagonist, provoked a dramatic decrease in AP-1 DNA binding activities in the barrel cortex, but not in the visual cortex. Elevated AP-1 DNA binding activity can be taken as a good correlate of an onset of functional plasticity in the rat sensory cortex, although in the two primary sensory cortices examined it seems to be regulated in different ways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Dizocilpine Maleate / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*


  • Cyclic AMP Response Element-Binding Protein
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Transcription Factors
  • Dizocilpine Maleate