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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1996 Jul;39(1-2):109-16.

AP-1 DNA binding activity induced by hyperosmolality in the rat hypothalamic supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of South Carolina, Columbia 29208, USA.


Immediate early gene products (c-fos, c-jun and their cognates) act as transcription factors coupling physiologically relevant stimuli to long-term responses by binding to the AP-1 site in the promoter region of target genes. The induction of c-fos has been identified in the paraventricular (PVN) and supraoptic (SON) hypothalamic magnocellular nuclei after hyperosmotic stimulation by using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry. In this study, AP-1 DNA binding activity, an indicator of the functional form of the c-fos transcription factor, was examined in nuclear extracts prepared from these brain regions using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay and a labeled oligonucleotide containing the AP-1 consensus sequence. Two hours after hypertonic saline injection (i.p.), rats were killed and nuclear proteins were extracted from tissue punches of brain regions to assess AP-1 binding activity. Hyperosmolality induced an increase of AP-1 binding activity in nuclear protein from SON and PVN, but not striatum. This binding was competitively displaced by excess unlabeled AP-1 oligonucleotide whereas addition of increasing amounts of unlabeled SP-1 oligonucleotide (promoter site on housekeeping genes for the ubiquitous SP-1 transcription factor) did not decrease the binding. The binding protein was shown to contain c-Fos/Fra and c-Jun since addition of c-Fos/Fra antiserum formed a supershift of the DNA, protein and antibody complex, and c-Jun antibody blocked the protein DNA binding. These data suggest that hyperosmolality leads to a selective and specific increase in AP-1 DNA binding activity which may be responsible for regulating secondary target gene expression in the hypothalamic SON and PVN.

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