Retina photoreceptor and ganglion cells isolated from chicks that in vivo were exposed to light have a different phospholipid labeling capacity than those from chicks in the dark. In the light exposed animals, the phospholipid labeling in the ganglion cells is higher (Delta% 45, p<0.005) than in those maintained in the dark, whereas in the photoreceptor cells, the opposite occurs, that is, the phospholipid labeling is higher in the dark than in light. The light-dark differences for phospholipid labeling correlate with the expression of c-fos: when c-fos expression increases (both in mRNA and in c-Fos protein content), phospholipid labeling increases concomitantly. That is, in ganglion cells, c-fos expression and the phospholipid synthesis is higher in light with respect to dark, whereas in photoreceptor cells, c-fos expression and phospholipid synthesis is higher in dark with respect to light. Moreover, when an oligonucleotide antisense to c-fos is administered intraocularly prior to separating the animals into light and dark, no differences in c-fos expression and, consequently, no differences in phospholipid synthesis are found between animals in light and dark. Taken together, these results point to a novel mechanism by which rapid genomic responses to cell stimulation are converted to longer lasting changes in the cell components.
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