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Nat Neurosci. 2003 Oct;6(10):1072-8. Epub 2003 Aug 31.

NF-kappa B functions in synaptic signaling and behavior.

Author information

  • 1Division of Biology, MC204-31 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nat Neurosci. 2003 Dec;6(12):1329.


Ca(2+)-regulated gene transcription is essential to diverse physiological processes, including the adaptive plasticity associated with learning. We found that basal synaptic input activates the NF-kappa B transcription factor by a pathway requiring the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent kinase CaMKII and local submembranous Ca(2+) elevation. The p65:p50 NF-kappa B form is selectively localized at synapses; p65-deficient mice have no detectable synaptic NF-kappa B. Activated NF-kappa B moves to the nucleus and could directly transmute synaptic signals into altered gene expression. Mice lacking p65 show a selective learning deficit in the spatial version of the radial arm maze. These observations suggest that long-term changes to adult neuronal function caused by synaptic stimulation can be regulated by NF-kappa B nuclear translocation and gene activation.

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