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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1994 Dec;27(2):299-309.

Immediate-early gene responses in the avian song control system: cloning and expression analysis of the canary c-jun cDNA.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Previous studies have shown that song presentation results in a rapid rise in mRNA levels for the ZENK gene (the avian homologue of zif-268, Egr-1, NGFI-A, and Krox-24) in specific parts of the songbird forbrain. Metrazole-induced seizures also cause an increase in ZENK mRNA, even more widely throughout the telencephalon. Surprisingly, however, little or no ZENK induction by either stimulus was observed in several forebrain areas involved in auditory processing and song production. To learn whether this pattern of regulation is specific to ZENK, we examined the response of another 'immediate-early' gene, c-jun. Here we first describe the identification, cloning and sequence analysis of a canary cDNA encoding c-jun. Then, by in situ hybridization we show that c-jun is also induced by song or seizure, and in a pattern mostly similar to ZENK. As with ZENK, no induction of c-jun is observed in the androgen receptor-containing song nuclei or within the primary thalamo-recipient auditory area of the forebrain. Thus common immediate early gene responses appear to be selectively uncoupled from physiological activation in these specific forebrain regions, which are also characterized by tight developmental, hormonal and seasonal regulation.

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